Labour Commissioner Urges Rethink at Agribank

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By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK Labour Commissioner Bro-Mathew Shinguadja has strongly urged the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) to revisit its decision to make all its 140 staff members – with the exception of the Chief Executive Officer – redundant. In a letter to Agribank CEO, Ambassador Leonard Ipumbu, Shinguadja advised that the best course at this stage would be to revisit the decision until the company and the union found amicable common ground. The labour commissioner said his office recognised and accepted management’s decision to restructure, reorganise or right-size their businesses or operations. “But we are always disturbed by allegations and accusations of non-meaningful consultations or the total lack of transparency in the whole process,” he said. Shinguadja’s letter to Ipumbu came the day after the Namibia Financial Institutions Union held a press conference where the union’s president sharply condemned the redundancies. He reminded Agribank that although Nafinu has a Recognition and Procedural Agreement with Agribank, the union alleged the bank never negotiated the current restructuring process with them as required. “If the Nafinu concerns are real, or are a resemblance of a true picture of non-consultation or total lack of meaningful negotiation thereof, our advice is that Agribank should engage the union as a matter of urgency in this regard,” he suggested. Shinguadja warned that ignorance of the existing Recognition and Procedural Agreement that establishes a basis for proper collective bargaining could have serious consequences. Such ignorance had the potential of degenerating into “unpalatable accusations” and court battles that would inhibit progress and production at the bank. He gave the assurance that his office remained at the disposal of the parties for any technical assistance and advice towards an acceptable and mutually beneficial solution.