By Petronella Sibeene
The Employment Equity Commission is probing the salary payment system of Namibia Airports Company (NAC) following allegations by workers that the company practices racial discrimination in terms of remuneration.
The company allegedly gives fat salaries to white employees, followed by coloureds and gives almost ‘peanuts’ to blacks, a New Era source working at NAC revealed.
“Blacks will always be on low salaries and management claims that whites have special skills. We do the same work but at the end of the month, the white people receive more than blacks,” the source alleged.
For years, NAC has not increased salaries citing under-financing and the need for market-related salaries. This remains a bone of contention at the company despite the board approving a salary structure policy in June 2003.
Workers feel the salaries earned today are irrelevant to the market.
According to the source, the market related salary policy was approved together with other policies such as Industrial Relations Policy, yet no implementation has taken place.
In a letter dated November 1, 2007, the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) informed management through its general manager of human resource that NAC should implement the policy and salaries should be adjusted by 15 November 2007. Failure to adhere to the demand would lead to industrial action.
John Mukoya, the Human Resource Manager, acknowledged receipt of the letter and in his response to the union he indicated: “As was previously drawn to your attention, this matter is out of our hands, and has been referred to higher offices for consideration and advice,” Mukoya said in a letter to the union.
However, the Deputy Director at the Employment Equity Commission, Ottniel Podewiltz, confirmed that his office requested NAC to submit its payroll and based on the work done so far, there are many issues that need clarity.
“We have not finalised the investigation yet. We had interviews with management and the Union. There are certain cases where there are discrepancies,” he said. Podewiltz could not reveal further information the investigation is still ongoing.
He added that based on prima facie evidence, there are some discrepancies in some cases. He could not say if these are based on colour but was adamant that they are linked to lack of adherence to remuneration and recruitment policy.
Our source alleged that there are many irregularities at NAC. He said one such irregularity involves top management who qualify for car schemes and yet still use company cars. The issue was reported two years ago to the Anti-corruption Commission.
Chief Executive Officer of NAC, Vemunjengua Kavari, refuted the allegations but asked: “How can we talk about the matter if it is being investigated?”