NAC and Napwu in clandestine dealBy: CATHERINE SASMAN
THE Namibia Airports Company (NAC) has clandestinely renewed its recognition agreement with the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu).
The agreement is set to put Napwu on a direct collision course with the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau). The two are Swapo-affiliated unions.
Natau claims that Napwu has lost its majority membership at the parastatal.
“Napwu got its mandate back over the NAC employees. This means that Natau [Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union] is no longer a role player in the company,” NAC CEO Ben Biwa told The Namibian this week.
However, Natau general secretary John Kwedhi said no union has a majority, and claimed that the NAC refused to deduct Natau membership fees from workers’ salaries in a deliberate attempt to reduce the Natau membership there.
He said Natau was currently in discussion with the NAC on these matters.
NAC workers earlier this year were incensed that Napwu had apparently unilaterally negotiated restructured packages with the company on behalf of all workers despite the fact that it did not have the majority membership.
At the time of the negotiations, it was claimed that Napwu only had 65 members as opposed to the 147 that had joined Natau since November last year.
But the general secretary of Napwu, Petrus Nevonga, yesterday said the union had reclaimed its majority membership at the NAC within a 90-day period since April when the union’s recognition agreement with the NAC was put on ice.
In terms of the Labour Act, a union has to have 51 percent membership to be eligible to enter into a recognition agreement with a company.
Similarly, said Nevonga, the scope of operations of the union seeking a recognition agreement must be in tandem with that of the industry.
According to him, Napwu is the only union under the umbrella National Union of Namibian Workers whose scope of operations tallies with that of the NAC.
“This is not an extension of the recognition agreement. We are bargaining as usual as if there is no interruption,” said Nevonga.
The NAC refused to comment on follow up questions about the agreement yesterday.