Namibia: Civil Servants Salary Negotiations Deadlocked

Public sector unions have described government’s zero offer on salary increments as immoral, insensitive and an act without due regard for the plight of civil servants.

This is considering that government did not grant any salary increments to them for five consecutive financial years.

The Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) and the Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) on Tuesday updated their members and the public at large on the progress of the negotiations between them and the government.

During the last briefing by Nantu and Napwu on the same subject matter held on 24 February 2022, the two bargaining unions informed their members about the referral of a dispute of interest as defined under section 81 (a) of the Labour Act of 2007, (Act No 1 1).

The matter was referred to the office of the labour commissioner for conciliation with the aim to find an amicable solution to the dispute.

Napwu and Nantu consulted members extensively from 10 to 20 May 2022 with the aim to give feedback on the progress made at conciliation and for members to pronounce themselves on this matter, which they did.

In a joint statement, Napwu general secretary Peter Nevonga and Nantu secretary general Loide Shaanika this week informed their members that conciliation resumed on 23 May 2022 and parties have reached a deadlock.

This means that the union and the government have been issued a certificate of an unresolved dispute.

As per members’ mandate, Napwu and Nantu maintained the position that basic salary should be raised by 5% for 2022/23 financial year, while housing allowance is proposed at 9% increment and 10% increase for transport allowance and another 10% proposed for motor vehicle allowance for the 2021/22 financial year.

However, the government continues to maintain a 0% on salaries and only responded to give increment on benefits.

These benefits are 14.5% on housing allowance for staff members below management, while 12% is proposed for the management cadre.

For transport allowance, the government is willing to offer 14% for staff below management.

Both unions are unhappy, reasoning these benefits as offered by the government are for the financial year 2022/2023, as opposed to the financial year 2021/2022 which the unions have asked for.

“In addition, it is also important to emphasise that the government continues to maintain their zero offer on salary increment. Napwu and Nantu deem it imperative to underline that civil servants were not granted any salary increment or improvement on conditions of service during the negotiations for the 2018/2019, 2019/2020, 2020/2021, 2021/2022, and 2022/2023 financial years respectively,” the unions expressed.

The certificate referred to was received this week, therefore, the unions informed the public that they will follow the procedures as set out in law.

“Napwu and Nantu are hereby informing their members that, as responsible unions and while the process set out in law is ongoing, we are still available for any further engagement aimed to meet our members’ demand,” the unions jointly agreed.

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