Agribank strike results in mudslingingBy: DENVER KISTING
A STRIKE at the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) has resulted in mudslinging between the bank’s management and the Namibia Financial Institutions Union (Nafinu).
All operations at Agribank were brought to a halt this week when almost all its employees went on strike.
The strike came after employees refused to accept a 6 per cent increase approved by the board of directors.
According to Asnath Zamuee, the general secretary of Nafinu, management earlier agreed with the union to a 12 per cent increase.
However, according to the chief executive officer of the bank, Leonard Iipumbu, the bank’s management and the union never agreed on a 12 per cent increase.
In fact, he said, management on April 26 informed the shop stewards that they would ask the board of directors to approve a 12 per cent salary increase – 8 per cent of which would be an inflation adjustment and 4 per cent based on performance.
The workers then allegedly refused to have their performance appraised.
Zamuee yesterday said the workers would remain on strike until their demands were met. “The 12 per cent was communicated to the employees and as such, expectations were raised. Why management would opt to engage and enter into an agreement with the union, well knowing they did not have a mandate from the board, remains incomprehensible.”
She said the bank’s management “deliberately misled the workers and are directly responsible for this industrial action. This is a disgrace and a betrayal of the trust put in them.” Workers also demand that the bank should pay their entire medical aid contribution.
Iipumbu appealed to the bank’s clients to make payments at commercial banks for the duration of the strike.