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Government to be given 48-hour notice on impending civil servants strike

Government to be given 48-hour notice on impending civil servants strike

Zorena Jantze

THE Secretary General of the Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU) Petrus Nevongo has stated that the two unions organising the public servants strike will meet up with Government tomorrow to draft an agreement on striking rules, after which government will be given a 48-hours notice for the intended strike.

Nevongo made this remark at a press briefing held on Tuesday, 2 August, where he officially announced the ballot results of the civil servants strike, which he noted has been accepted by government. Nevongo stated that the civil servants workforce included 81 853 eligible voters, of which 43 794 took part in the balloting process. He shared that a total number of 346 ballots were spoiled or rejected, representing 0.8% of the total votes casted.

A total number of 1 232 of public servants, representing 2.9%, voted against the strike, while 42 216 public servants, representing 96.4% of the total votes, voted in favour of the strike.
The elections of the public service voting did not include the army, Correctional Services in uniform or the Central Intelligence Services. Those who work for the police or the National Defence Force (NDF) who are not in uniform were however allowed to vote.

 

PICTURED: Petrus Nevongo. Photo: Zorena Jantze.

 

The Secretary General further noted that government’s pre-emptive announcement of a “No work, No Pay” policy was an intimidation to workers.

“They announced governments position using the Minister of Labour, who when it comes to issues of labour disputes is supposed to play a mediation role. They have compromised the ethics of their ministry as disputes are registered at the ministry of labour,” Nevongo said.

Queried about the unions’ affiliation to SWAPO and how it affected the salary negotiation process, Nevongo defended that the Namibia National Teachers Union (NANTU) and NAPWU are only affiliated to the National Union of Namibian Workers, which has an affiliation with SWAPO.

“We organize workers employed under our collective scope of operations, we do not organize workers based on their political affiliations. In these scope of operations as NANTU and NAPWU, the employer we deal with is government. The civil servants are not employed by SWAPO but government. Government represents the Namibian people irrespective of their political affiliations,” Nevongo said.

The secretary general also denied recent remarks that government had made a new offer to the unions, adding that all offers made by government were until the time when they reached a deadlock, and that after the Certificate of Unresolved Dispute was issued on salary negotiations, no new offers from government had come to them. 
He further pleaded ignorance to statements that there were recent meetings held between the Government Negotiation Team (GNT) and the unions, adding that they had simply just presented the strike ballot results to government and did not have further discussions on them.

“I don’t know what the minister was briefed on. Our meeting was set for today, after we informed the Labour Commissioner that we are ready to present the results, the conciliator under the office of the Labour Commissioner invited parties, which include government, to the presentation of the results. I’m not quite sure that government understands the process. This was not negotiations, but a presentation of the results,” Nevongo said.

In conclusion, he however applauded president Hage Geingob’s decision to cancel international trips planned for this week.

“President has taken a leadership position by deferring his international trips for this week. He said he cancelled because he wanted to attend the striking situation. This means that the Head will be involved to bring about an effort to help parties find a solution. His presence will help in the consultation process, we take this a leadership position,” Nevongo concluded.

 

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