Union Sets Deadline for Government - AllAfrica.com

THE Trade Union Congress of Namibia (Tucna) has given the government an October 31 deadline to address the salary hike demands of civil servants.

Through its public service unions, the Teachers’ Union of Namibia (TUN), Public Service Union of Namibia (PSUN) and the Namibia Nurses’ Union (Nanu), Tucna yesterday said it wants the “national and potentially explosive issues” surrounding salaries and regrading of civil servants be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Mahongora Kavihuha, the president of TUN, said they were aware that job evaluations for regrading purposes had been completed and forwarded to the Office of the Prime Minister on July 31.

“In terms of this regrading, the average public servant would have an increment on their salaries. For reasons unknown to us, the office of the Prime Minister has been sitting on these recommendations – with the result that the salaries of the employees are unable to cope with ever-increasing cost of living.”

This, he said, had resulted in civil servants being “poorer than before”.

He further lashed out at the 100% hike of members’ contributions to the State’s medical aid fund from November 1.

“Interestingly, this increment comes while the negotiations are still supposed to be in progress. We are left wondering whether this increment was unilaterally drawn or was [it] done with the consent of the negotiating partners, Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) and Namibia Public Workers’ Union(Napwu)?”

Kavihuha said the increase of members’ contributions “is going to add to the misery of the already impoverished government employees”.

Its members were constantly bombarding it with questions about a salary increase, he said. “The commodity prices are skyrocketing beyond employees’ means and yet the negotiators are not sensitive to this.”

According to him, this alleged insensitivity “has the potential for employees to take matters into their own hands. If this happens, all the blame shall squarely be put at their [the negotiators’] doorsteps”.

Kavihuha urged public servants to remain calm and wait for the Office of the Prime Minister to respond to the Tucna deadline.

“We said October 31 and we mean it. The workers will tell us what steps to take then. I hope that the Prime Minister is going to read our lips that we are serious.”

Upon enquiry, Prime Minister Nahas Angula said he was not sure what the Tucna leaders were talking about, as he had seen no request for an audience before October 31.

He said salary negotiations were at an advanced stage.

“Some trade unions try to confuse civil servants. We negotiate with those who have the mandate to negotiate,” Angula said.

He urged civil servants and the unions to “follow the rules and procedures”.

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