Namibia: NBC Strike Called Off
The strike at the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), which started on Tuesday morning, was suspended yesterday morning after the NBC management and the workers' representatives reached an agreement. The industrial action was suspended on condition that the NBC pays the striking employees a six percent salary increase, which the NBC promised last year, as well as a 9 percent back payment that has been outstanding since 2003.
The workers, who returned to work after they were reassured by the acting Minister of Information and Broadcasting Nangolo Mbumba, said they would go on strike again if the outstanding money is not in their bank accounts this afternoon. Mbumba informed the striking workers that it has become clear that the NBC is a strategic institution and that all parties should work together.
He said the negotiations were difficult and complex as they meant consulting the President and Minister of Finance to arrive at a solution. He noted that the negotiations were even more difficult because the trade unions had to consult with the workers all the time before a decision could be reached.
Mbumba said although he could not technically be involved in the payment of the money, he was assured by the NBC management that the money will be paid in last week. He urged the NBC employees to work harder now as citizens await their services more. Mbumba said the NBC has listenership in Namibia and beyond.
Napwu president Eliphas Dingara said if the money is not paid in by last week, they will regard that as sabotage and will not hesitate to resume the industrial action. Dingara blamed the NBC management for the industrial action. He charged that the management did not pay the employees although the money was there. Dingara also thanked the Namibian government for their intervention, and expressed the hope that the money will be paid in so that the strike can be called off permanently.
Kennedy Onesmus, who was also part of the negotiating team, warned the NBC management against victimizing NBC employees who were leading the strike. Onesmus said he has been informed already that the NBC management is targeting some of the employees and will harass them.
(New Era (Windhoek), 1 February 2008)