Development agency workers down tools

STRIKE … The Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union held a strike at the Namibia Industrial Development Agency head office in Windhoek on Wednesday. Photo: Veripuami Kangumine

Workers of the Namibia Industrial Development Agency (Nida) yesterday went on strike to demand salary increments and better working conditions.

The workers alleged the organisation has the funds available to hire new management, but fails to increase workers’ salaries.

The Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) yesterday on behalf of the workers said they claim new management is hired on a yearly basis.

Nafau in a document says the company’s management has created the right environment for corruption to thrive in and has not increased their salaries in the past three years as it should, according to their contracts.

Nida spokesperson Wessel Narusb yesterday said the agency was locked in a meeting on the matter and would respond today.

Meanwhile, Nafau spokesperson Jacob Penda said the lack of salary increments indicates Nida’s ineffective management and corporate governance.

“We have never seen an advertisement for the chief executive position. Yet, you hear there’s a management this year and then a new one acting the following year – for the past six years,” he said.

“Nida said they have no money, but they chose to appoint new managers and not advance the current salary issues,” he said.

The spokesperson said the workers are not only demanding salary increments, but also better working conditions and travel allowances, because they cannot survive on their current salaries.

“The lowest-earning workers of this company receive as little as N$3 000 to pay their rent, buy food and support their families,” he said.

Penda said the employees have followed proper procedures as per the Labour Act and have made all efforts to negotiate with Nida before striking.

“Yesterday we engaged with the chairperson of the board for almost half the night and did not come to an agreement. As a result, the workers of Nida countrywide are on strike.”

The spokesperson said the state-owned enterprise’s failure is due to the incompetence of the management and the board.

The workers said Nida’s management has negotiated with the union in bad faith without disclosing its financial statements and that appointments have been made without fair advertising.

Penda said Nafau is calling for the government as a shareholder of Nida to intervene.

“We are calling on our government as the shareholder of this company to find out why this company, as a commercial entity of the government, does not make profit. What went wrong?” he asked.

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