THE Namibia National Teacher Union (NANTU) and Namibia Public Workers union has filed a dispute of interest with the office of the Labour Commissioner in hopes of getting a favourable ruling that will see salary increments of all public servants across the board after the union has been turned down by state on numerous occasions.
Speaking at media briefing, Basilius Haingura, secretary general of NANTU stated that the two unions have been engaging with Government Negotiation Team (GNT) on the improvements of salaries and fringe benefits for civil servants for 2018/19/29 and 2020/21 financial years.
Haingura stated that the first meeting was held on 14 March 2018 however the government’s negotiating team did not provide any counter offers to the union’s proposal in writing as a procedural matter.
The second negotiation meeting took place on 5th July 2018. During the deliberation the government was unable to make a counter offer due to the “unfavourable economic situation” which is prevailing in the country.
“The unions considered critically the government’s position and it was on this basis that the unions gave government a breathing space by agreeing to no increment for the 2018/19 financial year. The parties continued to engage for the two remaining financial years 2019/20. During the third meeting which was held on 5 December 2018, the unions were expecting the government to present its counter offer on the two remaining financial years. However, it turns out that the government negotiation team did not obtain further mandate to negotiate. This is very unfair to the unions and is tantamount to negotiating in bad faith” Haingura said.
Haingura added that on 8 April 2019, during the fourth sitting, the government still could not provide unions with any counter despite the fact that the unions have restructured their proposal.
He added that as a result of this four failed meetings, a deadlock was reached and an internal dispute was declared with the Office of the Prime Minister on 12 April 2019.
After being given a 30 day period, there was still no action taken.
Haingura stated that the parties met again during the meeting of 5 June 2019 but government’s position remains unchanged.
“Considering the timeframe that has lapsed, the unions were left with no other options but rather to file a dispute of interest with the office of the Labour commissioner. The dispute was registered on 18 June 2019. The unions are expecting the Office of the Labour Commissioner to invite the two parties with 30 days to resolve the matter through a process of conciliation as provided by the Labour Act No.11 of 2007” Haingura said.