By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) considers a recognition and procedural agreement with Erongo Red signed on Friday as a milestone and historic achievement for sound labour relations in the country. This was said by MUN General Secretary, Joseph Hengari, during the signing ceremony at the offices of the electricity supply entity in Walvis Bay. The agreement was signed on behalf of the Erongo Regional Electricity Distributor (Erongo RED) by the CEO, Gerhard Coeln. “As a caring organization, we strongly feel that we cannot afford to sit on the fence and be spectators while there is a crying need for help to be done in order to enhance the quality of life of our people. The signing of this agreement is truly historic because it is taking place after the May Day celebrations in which workers celebrated their victory from the yoke of segregation and slavery,” Hengari said. According to him, the signing of the agreement is part of the democratic culture developing in the country and born out of Erongo RED’s will to respect the rights of its employees. “The Mineworkers Union of Namibia recognises the right of the company to manage the business operations. Both MUN and Erongo Red value the employees as assets for any operations. Therefore, the dignity of workers need to be looked after. This can only be done in the spirit of mutual trust, transparency and respect to enhance industrial peace and sound labour relations,” said Hengari, who urged both parties to strictly adhere to the agreement and to find amicable solutions to labour problems that might arise. “The onus is now in our hands as workers to channel our grievances through a proper laid down procedure and to air our concerns, which might need urgent attention before it’s too late. I also want to urge the company to respect the MUN as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent for all employees. Therefore, this document must be honoured and respected to prevent it becoming a dust collector,” he said. In his speech at the signing ceremony, RED’s CEO, Gerhard Coeln, assured the MUN that his company undertakes to act in the best interest of both parties at all times. “Erongo RED will act in the best interest of securing an environment which creates trust and transparency and recognises the rights of employees as contemplated in the Labour Act. The company respects the rights of employees to join the union and equally the union should respect the right of management to manage the business in the best interest of all stakeholders,” Coeln, who referred to the fact that the Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU) was previously the exclusive bargaining agent of the company’s staff members, said.
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