Govt negotiates salary hikes for public serviceBy: CATHERINE SASMAN
GOVERNMENT is negotiating with the Namibia Public Workers’ Union (Napwu) and the Namibian National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) on an inflationary adjustment by about six per cent of public servants’ salaries for the 2012/13 financial year.
This could mean that the public service wage bill could increase by between N$53 million and N$63,7 million. This will be in addition to the wage bill which now stands at more than N$1 billion after last year’s 10 per cent increase.
The wage bill was increased from an initial eight per cent last year, for which the Government had budgeted, to 10 per cent.
This meant that the cost to the taxpayer jumped from N$875,9 million with an additional N$186,4 million, which was absorbed in the 2012/13 national budget.
Negotiations on the salary increases, among a number of other issues, took place at Swakopmund on June 20 and 21.
The general secretaries of Napwu and Nantu, Petrus Nevonga and Basilius Haingura, would not comment on the status of the negotiations at this stage.
Equally tight-lipped was the permanent secretary in the office of the Prime Minister, Nangula Mbako, who said the matter was an internal one and that the media would be briefed at a later stage.
It could thus not be established how much Government has budgeted for public salaries for the current financial year, or, since negotiations have been delayed, this could mean backpay due to public workers.
But negotiations between Government and unions include the improvement of housing benefits to public servants.
Options in this regard being considered include the raising of housing allowances, or raising the maximum loan amount under the Home Owners Scheme for Staff Members (HOSSM) from the current N$450 000, or both.
Government has similarly concluded a job evaluation and grading system, the preliminary cost implications calculated to be in the range of N$1,3 billion pending further consultations still to be done.
The job evaluation and grading system and its financial implications have reportedly been discussed with both Napwu and Nantu, and recommendations in this regard are to be made to Cabinet for approval.
It has also emerged that the government has tabled a proposal to amend the recognition agreements of both Napwu and Nantu.
Again, Nevonga would not comment, saying: “Speak to the government; speak to the right source.”
Haingura said there were negotiations for a new recognition agreement which has not been finalised yet.
“If the current recognition agreement does not disadvantage us but if Government feels it does not favour it, then they must invite us to discuss the matter,” was all Haingura was prepared to say.