WINDHOEK – Roads Authority (RA) employees in Windhoek, yesterday halted work and gathered at NaTIS Valley disrupting RA operations in the process.
Many truck drivers experienced delays at weighbridges, including driver license applicants who were slated to sit for the obligatory exams. Many motorists who went to NaTIS for roadworthiness testing of their vehicles were also locked out. RA workers say they want to renegotiate the wage increases agreed upon last week between the General Secretary of the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) Peter Nevonga and management. The employees claim that the agreement reached offering them a 10 percent increment was illegal.
“The union and management signed without our consent and without our shopsteward Sam Hamupolo attending,” reads a statement issued by the employees. Disgruntled RA employees are demanding the reinstatement of Hamupolo as their shopsteward and as their representative in the wage negotiations, after Nevonga last Friday suspended him according to the employees. They are also demanding that Hamupolo’s e-mail account be unblocked, since it was found blocked since yesterday morning.
“On the 20th of September we voted for a strike, and the majority employees voted in favour of a strike, but the union and management are withholding it (sic),” they said. Truck drivers bear the brunt of the wage dispute, through the delays experienced at weighbridges, and say they only hope the situation can be resolved sooner rather than later, because their cargoes, some of it perishable products, have to be delivered at agreed times to clients, otherwise their employers won’t be very happy. In an internal communiqué sent to the dissatisfied employees by the HR Manager, Connie Nyati, it is indicated that employees in the job category Patterson A2 to C5, will receive a 10 percent increment, while employees in job grades A1-B5 will receive a 15 percent increase in the housing allowance and 10 percent for those in job grades C1-C5.
The transport allowance for job grades A2-C5 was increased to 33.1 percent, while all proposed increments are expected to be implemented during this month and backdated to April 01, 2013. The letter further indicates that salary increases for job grade D and upwards are not yet finalised, since the RA board of directors must still give their approval. The union and the RA management agreed that the company’s remuneration policy be reviewed and revised and a consultant be appointed to compare the parastatal’s salaries with other companies in the labour market.
The agreement, according to the letter, also provides for long service bonuses equivalent to the employees’ monthly salaries after every five years of uninterrupted service with the company, as supported by the board’s human resources committee and is to be implemented upon receiving approval from the board of directors. According to the letter all employees must take note that the dispute between the RA and Napwu launched at the Office of the Labour Commissioner two weeks ago, has been withdrawn by Napwu with immediate effect.
By Fifi Rhodes