Meeting to Iron Out Wage Dispute

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK A meeting that is likely to address the burning issues of workers at the Fisheries Observer Agency (FOA) will take place today at Swakopmund. The meeting, that will be held between the FOA Board and the Namibia Public Workers’ Union (Napwu), follows a strike by more than 200 workers. The agency decided not to increase its workers’ salaries for this financial year. Though he could not give details, Napwu Secretary General Petrus Nevonga told New Era that the agency had decided on a zero percent salary increment for its workers hence the decision to take industrial action. Previously, the workers tried to reason with the agency’s management but to no avail. “Depending on their salary levels, the workers are demanding an increment ranging between 11 to 20 per cent,” stated Nevonga. He indicated that workers at the agency have complained of poor salaries, negative attitudes where superiors are perceived to be using an autocratic approach towards employees, and lack of transparency, among other issues. Reluctant to say much, Chief Executive Officer of FOA Hafeni Mungungu confirmed the meeting. It is expected that the meeting would enable the agency to respond to what the union has demanded. Meanwhile, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Dr Abraham Iyambo says though the matter could be seen as a “normal labour thing”, it is being treated as urgent. For that reason, the minister believes that a methodical and systematic approach be taken when dealing with issues of this nature Workers have been on strike since January 27, 2006.