WINDHOEK - The week-long strike that silenced the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) radio and television services ended yesterday at mid-day.
NBC Director-General Albertus Aochamub went live with an announcement welcoming staff, saying: “We hope this will not be repeated in our lifetimes. You behaved very responsibly throughout this difficult period and we appreciate that.”
Aochamub said no vandalism or anti-social behaviour was experienced.
Negotiations between the union representing NBC workers – the Namibia Public Workers’ Union (Napwu) – and NBC reached a deadlock last week with workers demanding a 13 percent salary and wage increment.
It took nearly a week for the parties to reach agreement since the strike began. Cabinet had to agree that the Treasury fork out an additional N$8.9 million to cover the increments demanded by the employees.
NBC will contribute 60 percent to housing allowances while employees will contribute the remaining 40 percent.
Transport allowance will also be increased from N$430 to N$490 across the board. Rental allowances will increase by 100 percent over a three-year period in which the first year’s rent allowance would be increased by 50 percent, the second year 25 percent and third year another 25 percent.
Gabes Andumba, Napwu Deputy General-Secretary, said that the union could not be blamed for adhering to the labour law to resolve disputes after receiving constant empty promises from NBC. Andumba said the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology promised that funds would be made available to the NBC by end of July, but no submission was made to Cabinet until Tuesday.
Andumba also condemned remarks by One Africa TV that Namibians should disregard the national broadcaster and listen to commercial stations. “This is a total disregard of the importance of a public broadcaster and the Broadcasting Act passed by the Namibian Parliament,” he said. Aochamub remains adamant that the corporation has done everything it can to indicate that it is facing financial difficulties.
He said the NBC board members invested endless hours on a weekly basis for no extra compensation to make sure that employees were taken care of and challenged any one who had doubts to study company records for themselves.
He said the board had submitted all documents to the relevant structures of government on time.
He maintained that the NBC board was among the few that adhere to all provisions of the State-Owned Enterprises Governance Council on board fees and management remuneration.
Aochamub said that budget shortcomings could prevent the national broadcaster from launching the Digital Terrestrial Television operating platform by the December 2013 deadline as agreed among Southern African Development Community member states.