Disagreement grows between Napwu and Swakop municipality

Sharlien Tjambari

The Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) declared a deadlock with the municipality of Swakopmund over ongoing wage negotiations. The situation is leaning over in favour of strike action.

Employees of the Swakopmund municipality who are affiliated to Napwu staged a demonstration earlier this week and in a petition demanded a fair salary increase. Disgruntled employees also grilled Swakopmund town Councillors and municipal management, describing them as “selfish” and with a “don’t care attitude”.
The petition was handed over by the Chairperson of NAPWU’s representative committee, Uanjenguaije Tjiurutue on Tuesday. Extracts of the petition in no uncertain terms describes town Councillors and management as selfish individuals with a “no-care” attitude towards municipal workers. Workers of the Swakopmund municipality say they are are “sick and tired” of the selfishness of the Councillors and their management. The wage negotiations are on since March this year, but workers say the process remains at square one.
Workers accuse Councillors of having adjusted their allowances in line with a Class 1 municipality. They claim sitting fees to attend meetings increased from N$100 per session to N$800. “No wonder they are having special meetings almost every week, maximally capitalising on the in-creased seating allowances”, alleges workers in the petition.
The municipal staff members further claim they have since 2015 been trying to convince Councillors and management about the need for salary adjustment. They stated Councillors and management’s remuneration is on par with a Class 1 municipality, but workers’ salaries are not matching that of other Class 1 municipalities. “Those who are actually doing the work are lagging far behind”, said Tjiurutue when he addressed the gathering where the petition was handed over.
According to Tjiurutue, the municipality’s management (managers, general managers, the Chief Executive Officer) are about 0.4% closer to their counterparts at the Walvis Bay municipality and ordinary workers (street cleaners and general workers) are receiving 20% less than their colleagues at the Walvis Bay municipality.
“The Councillors and their management are trying to justify the situation by saying that the economy of Walvis Bay is bigger than that of Swakopmund because of industries. We are saying yes, it is true that the economy of Walvis Bay may be bigger than that of Swakopmund. However, the same economy of Swakopmund, small as it is, is able to carry the managers, general managers, Chief Executive Officer and Councillors with their heavy perks. Why is it not able to carry street cleaners and general workers?”
Councillor Errki Shitana, the Chairperson of the Management Committee accepted the petition on behalf of Council and said a response to the petition is to follow in an appropriate time.

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