The Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (NATAU) has petitioned the Minister of Works and Transport regarding a number of issues affecting TransNamib and Air Namibia employees.
About 200 TransNamib and Air Namibia workers marched yesterday to the ministry’s head office to deliver a petition.
Handing over the petition to Alpheus !Naruseb yesterday, TransNamib shopsteward Martin Nghindwa lamented the institution’s working conditions and wage negotiations, saying that the institution’s employees were among the lowest paid personnel, compared to other State-owned enterprises. Nghindwa, who read the petition on behalf of the workers, said a study conducted in 2008 indicated that employees of TransNamib are paid 35 percent below the market rate. “We have waited too long to see the intervention of the shareholders in TransNamib saga, but no concrete steps have been taken to arrest the situation,” he said.
He said the company has already lost important contracts with the Rosh Pinah mine due to the “don’t care” attitude of management.
He also accused the current TransNamib management of being corrupt and incompetent, saying that their incompetence and corruption was displayed when the new train lines were built.
“The tender for the Karasburg-Otjiwarongo rehabilitation was given to a company owned by a [TransNamib] manager,” he claimed. Nghindwa further said, with the current management the company will not be able to significantly contribute to the economic growth and development of the country.
“As workers and citizens of this country we are determined to contribute to the national goal of waging war against poverty. However, this can only be achieved if workers are led by qualified and competent managers,” he told !Naruseb.
“The only assistance we are requesting from you is to give us competent managers, so that we can achieve success similar to Namport and other State-owned enterprises,” he added. According to Nghindwa Air Namibia is also experiencing similar cases of mismanagement. He said suspended managers were not charged properly and in some cases were re-employed, despite having shown that they do not have the capacity to perform.
“The company organogram has changed several times and many different versions are now in circulation,” he said. “Nobody seems to know which direction Air Namibia is heading to,” he stressed. He said in 2009 the airline decided to move to the Patterson grading system and the cabin crew staff was regraded in 2014, but this did not happen in the case of pilots.
“The company stated that the cabin crew was regraded due to the dispute between them and the company,” he said, adding that this is clearly a case of double standards and constitutes an unfair labour practice.
He also bemoaned plans by the airline to change permanent employment to fixed-term contracts, despite the provision of the Labour Act of 2012, as amended, which states that all employees will be regarded as permanently employed unless the employers can provide a justification for fixed-term contracts.
On receiving the petition,!Naruseb promised to look into their grievances and to come up with an amicable solution.