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NBC workers protest against austerity measures

NBC workers protest against austerity measures

Zorena Jantze

A group of close to 50 employees today gathered and held a peaceful demonstration in front of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) headquarters against austerity measures recently instituted at the national broadcaster, which might culminate in the retrenchment of 150 employees.
Handing over the petition to the Chief Human Resources Manager, Vezenga Kauraisa, NBC workers’ representative, Kephas Hempapu stated that it is disheartening to note that the Board of the NBC considers retrenchment as an option to reduce cost during this period of high unemployment in the country.
He added that the recent announcement of austerity measures have caused unnecessary panic and stress to the workers and have also destroyed the beautiful image of NBC.
Hempapu further stated that the NBC should adhere to the Labour Act, the amended Act no.2 of 2012, Section 128 A and B, explaining that the national broadcaster has over 150 contract workers at the moment who plays a major role in executing the functions of the NBC. He however stated that some of these contract works have been on contract agreements for more than seven years, which is unlawfull.

Video: NBC workers countrywide held a peaceful demonstration in light of the recent austerity measures implemented by the institution due to cash flow issues. – Footage: Zorena Jantze

In the letter directed to the Sven Thieme, NBC Board Chairperson, Hempapu further stated that despite the NBCs current financial position, managers go on trips unnecessarily and claim large amounts of S&T and accommodation.
“A case in point is the recent NAMAs and the Ulufuko Festival. There are expenses that could have been allocated to important operations of the NBC,” Hempapu chastised.
He further lamented that the NBC continues to outsource responsibilities of employees and spend unnecessary funds on independent contractors that is draining the public enterprise’s finances.
“Top management payroll is outsourced, putting strain on the already scares company finances. We regard the payroll outsourcing as unnecessary and questionable” Hempapu said.
Summarising the list of demands on behalf of NBC workers, Hempapu called for the reversal of all austerity measures, and that there should be an independent investigation into the mismanagement of funds at the NBC by the Minister of Information Communication and Technology.
He further stated that the union demands the NBC to get rid of the one month contract system and employ all contract workers permanently.
“We demand for an immediate removal of employees on ITC and make full payment to all third parties. We have come to note with dismay that there are outstanding payments to third parties such as pension fund, medical aid, home loans to name but a few. There are payments made according to the pay slips, but not honoured as indicated. With regard to this we are requesting for the assistance of the Bank of Namibia and NAMFISA to investigate the non-payment of third parties.” Hempupa said.
He added that the NBC employees have declared a vote of no confidence in management and its Board of Directors due to the above given reasons of and has given them 14 days to respond to their demands.

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