E-Red workers gear for strike

E-Red workers gear for strike

ERONGO RED (E-Red) employees who are members of the Mineworkers’ Union of Namibia (MUN) plan to go on strike today.

According to MUN Assistant General Secretary Jonas Lumbu, this is because the electricity distributor has not met their demands for salary increases. Lumbu, who is visiting Walvis Bay, told The Namibian yesterday that they were waiting for E-Red to return to the negotiating table regarding wages.He said the peaceful strike would start at 12h00, but added that the union would be prepared to call it off if the company was willing to negotiate.The annual wage negotiations, which started in June, reached a deadlock because the union’s expectations were threatening to worsen E-Red’s already critical financial position, and could also have a negative impact on electricity tariffs for the consumer, said E-Red CEO Gerhard Coeln.According to him, the union wants an increase of 8,5 to 9,5 per cent, while E-Red’s initial offer was 5,5 per cent and a one-off lump sum of N$750.Alternatively – minus the lump sum – E-Red was willing to grant an increase of 6 per cent on the worker’s total cost to company.Subsidised electricity, transport allowances and standby allowances were also part of MUN’s demands.Coeln said E-Red’s 6 per cent offer would translate into an average of 7,56 per cent increase in the basic salary of all staff members, which was more than the current intermediate inflation rate of about 7,2 per cent.”Our financial position is such that an increase exceeding inflation will worsen our current financial position while impacting on the electricity tariff that will affect consumers adversely,” he said.Coeln said the union’s demands were met, the total cost to company would go up by 11,45 per cent – about 4 per cent higher than the current inflation rate.Lumbu, who is visiting Walvis Bay, told The Namibian yesterday that they were waiting for E-Red to return to the negotiating table regarding wages.He said the peaceful strike would start at 12h00, but added that the union would be prepared to call it off if the company was willing to negotiate.The annual wage negotiations, which started in June, reached a deadlock because the union’s expectations were threatening to worsen E-Red’s already critical financial position, and could also have a negative impact on electricity tariffs for the consumer, said E-Red CEO Gerhard Coeln.According to him, the union wants an increase of 8,5 to 9,5 per cent, while E-Red’s initial offer was 5,5 per cent and a one-off lump sum of N$750. Alternatively – minus the lump sum – E-Red was willing to grant an increase of 6 per cent on the worker’s total cost to company.Subsidised electricity, transport allowances and standby allowances were also part of MUN’s demands.Coeln said E-Red’s 6 per cent offer would translate into an average of 7,56 per cent increase in the basic salary of all staff members, which was more than the current intermediate inflation rate of about 7,2 per cent.”Our financial position is such that an increase exceeding inflation will worsen our current financial position while impacting on the electricity tariff that will affect consumers adversely,” he said.Coeln said the union’s demands were met, the total cost to company would go up by 11,45 per cent – about 4 per cent higher than the current inflation rate.

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