NYS says payment of salaries not due to protest pressure

Martin Endjala

The National Youth Service said that the payment of its employees’ salaries was not paid due to the pressure of the protests, but that plans to pay workers’ salaries was already in the process.

“It should be noted that the guards’ salaries were not paid as a result of the guards illegal industrial action, nor did YSS deliberately withhold the guards salaries as alleged and speculated. The salaries were paid on receipt of payment of invoices by the clients, which in any event would have been paid on the 18thJanuary, hence the unfortunate delay”.

These were the remarks of the NYS Commissioner Felix Musukubili last week Friday during his response to the workers refusal to go to work due to delayed salaries.

The commissioner stated that he regrets the unfortunate delay of salaries occasioned by circumstances beyond their control. And in the same vein, while he sympathize with the guards for the delayed salaries.

He added that YSS does not condone the illegal conduct of the guards, as it is contrary to the principles and values of the service and in contravention of the relevant provisions of the country’s labour legislation.

Musukubili therefore emphasised that NYS management and the Board wishes to extend their sincere apologies to paid-up clients and stakeholders, for the inconvenience caused by the illegal industrial action.

Where during the event, it is said that the guards seized the opportunity to present a wholesale petition to NYS management, of which feedback was subsequently provided.

In response to the demands, the guards were advised that the issues raised in their petition are matters of negotiation and legal nature, which ordinarily should and will be addressed through appropriate fora.

On the other hand, YSS is said to rely on remittances from its clients for income, and from which guards remuneration is paid.

The commissioner explained that up to mid-2022, the monthly pay date for YSS guards was the 10th of each month However, given the delays in payment of invoices by some clients.

The date was changed to the 15th of each month. This was done in consultation and agreement with the guards and their representative trade unions according to the commissioner.

On the 12th of January 2023, spokesperson Belinda Hamburee infirmed that YSS realised that the client payments received will not cover the full payroll of the guards, and as such, a notice was issued to the guards and their representative trade unions, informing them of the possible delay in the payment of salaries.

By Monday, 16 January 2023, 60 oercent of the payroll had been collected with a remaining shortfall of 40 percent.

Given this situation Hamburee said, the guards were given an option to either be paid 60 percent of their salaries or wait for the full salaries on the 18th January 2023, on the commitment of the clients. The guards therefore declined and demanded full payment immediately.

On the Tuesday morning, 17 January 2023, the guards gathered at the NYS Head Office, demanding to be paid their full salaries. Despite their gathering, YSS was already in motion to collect the shortfall, which was secured the same day.

However, the shortfall collected was only transferred the next day, 18th January 2023.

Where all salaries were processed and paid. The guards that bank with the same bank as YSS received their money the same day, while the rest received theirs the following morning.

Meanwhile, a union representative was send back packing by the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighter commissar activist Michael Amushelelo for failing to come to the aid of the workers, calling the union useless.

“Tell your president, secretary general or whatever he calls himself, I told him that he is useless and his union is also useless, you understand. And as from today on we do not want to see useless unions here, so you can now go and vacate this arear before we vacate it for you”, Amushelelo said.

Amushelelo fumed his disappointment last work during the workers protests demanding their salaries to be paid.

The NYS was established in terms of the NYS Act, 2005 (Act No. 6 of 2005) to provide the youth with opportunities for civic, technical and vocational education and training as well as personal development programmes to enhance their opportunities for employment or self-employment.

Furthermore, the Service’s mandate is to inculcate patriotism, sense of nationhood and commitment to Namibia’s development among the recruits.

Section 15(1) of the Act contemplates that the recruits who have successfully completed National Service Training be considered for employment opportunities that may become available, for which they qualify.

However, given the absence of these opportunities, and to address the employment needs of the Service recruits, NYS saw the need to establish YSS in 2017, to provide employment opportunities to its recruits as an alternative, while they equally pursue further study opportunities.

To date, YSS has employed a total of 1,047 youth and provides security services to 14 institutions across the country.

By Observer