The new board at Air Namibia, which is chaired by Gerson Tjihenuna who is an academic in business administration and labour relations, has been tasked to repair the national airline’s labour relations with the workers’ union and manage the airline as a viable business concern.
The other board members are Floreter Nicolette Nakusera as deputy chairperson, Conville Britz, Walencia /Uiras and Evelyn /Naris. /Naris and Nakusera were re-appointed for another term.
Announcing the board this week the Minister of Works and Transport Alpheus !Naruseb pointed out that a relatively happy workforce is less inclined to resort to hurtful strikes but rather uses appropriate communication channels if encouraged to articulate the aspirations and desires of its membership, without risking the competitive edge of the airline.
!Naruseb said that in the recent past the financial gains were minimal and the board and management were near disastrous. “I cannot but stress that you as the new board have a huge responsibility, not only to the shareholder but to the public of Namibia as well, to encourage a business culture that binds the entire organization as one.”
!Naruseb said the past strikes at Air Namibia were in his view very hurtful. !Naruseb added that many successful airlines across the globe, which have 87 per cent of their employees belonging to unions, have had very few strikes and with some none at all.
He pointed out that it is vital that potential risks be limited by discussing in advance any differences and that synergies be built that harmonise business and fraternal relations.
He said that Air Namibia’s public face has over the years been synonymous with a mere drain of much needed public funds, which could have been spent in other areas of the economy.
He stressed that the national airline has for the past decade been operating under less favourable market conditions with an aircraft fleet having an average age older than 15 years. “This limited the chances for survival in a highly competitive environment. I am a firm supporter of management theories that advocate a dual approach to service excellence and cost effectiveness,”!Naruseb said.