By Surihe Gaomas
The Mine Workers Union of Namibia (MUN) is satisfied with the recently concluded deal with Erongo Regional Electricity Distributor (Erongo RED) that brought to an end a crippling four-day strike.
The strike led to many homes going without power.
General Secretary of MUN Joseph Hengari said they could have avoided the strike altogether if Erongo RED had shown willingness to come to the negotiating table much earlier.
The two parties only reached an amicable agreement with the company on Monday afternoon on salary increases for its over 200 workers.
“With the involvement of the Regional Governor Samuel Nuuyoma we were able to convince the company to come to the negotiating table and reached a deal,” Hengari said.
He said the strike, which started last Thursday, came to a halt on Monday, following which workers returned to work with immediate effect.
The strike cost the company about one million dollars.
“It was negligence on the part of the company as the strike cost the company a million dollars. It’s never in the best interest of a country to see two elephants fighting, while the ants (consumers) suffer as a result,” Hengari said.
Consumers felt the brunt of the strike, as pay points have remained closed since last Thursday afternoon. The police had to be called in to maintain law and order.
In terms of the agreement, workers’ received a seven percent salary increase with additional transport and electricity subsidies of N$300 and N$350.
The company backdated all workers salaries to July 1, 2007. The company also agreed to subsidise travel allowances, give a standby allowance of N$250 as well as introduce a uniform policy.
Hengari said the company agreed to provide breakfast valued at N$35 per person and N$70 for lunch and dinner respectively when employees work away from their normal duty stations.
MUN wanted at least a seven percent increase for its members, as well as additional benefits. The company has agreed to implement parts of the agreement next year.