Erongo regional governor Cleophas Mutjavikua has urged union leaders, companies and union members to guard against new unions that use new tactics to try to outsmart long existing ones.
Mutjavikua was speaking during the signing of the three-year wage agreement between Swakop Uranium and the Mine Workers Union of Namibia (MUN) last Friday in Swakopmund.
The three-year wage agreement will see improved conditions of employment for (MUN) members.
The parties have agreed to a 7 percent increase on basic salary across the board for members in the bargaining unit, covering the period January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018.
According to the governor, labour relations are facing serious challenges in the macro-environment, especially in the mining, fishing and tourism industries.
Mutjavikua said that new players (unions) will come up with new tactics to win over members from already existing unions as the latter do not nurture their ideologies to keep their membership.
“The walkout of some leadership and members from long existing unions clearly shows that members are not being nurtured. You should not only be part of the union for benefits. You should be part of the union for its ideologies as well. However, unions do not educate their membership and thus members move from one union to another,” governor said.
He added that this would have a serious impact on the country’s labour relations, because new unions will see this as an opportunity to lure the workforce.
“They will come up with strategies to question and challenge any agreement signed on behalf of members. We don’t have worker education and our unions do not have departments to keep their ideologies up and running,” noted Mutjavikua.
“People should not only join the unions for benefit, but it should be something that you believe in. What kept members of Swapo going and in Swapo itself during the liberation struggle was ideology not benefits,” he said.
Percy McCallum, the human relations and business support vice-president of Swakop Uranium, said the company, through the new three-year wage deal, supports the national agenda of the government in terms of poverty alleviation and will employ 1 653 full-time employees once the company is in full production.