Telecom Employees go on strike…demand accountability from management

Stefanus Nashama

Telecom Namibia employees are demanding that the Board of Directors do their work and hold the company’s management accountable before everything collapses like other public enterprises.

The employees along with representatives from the Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU), held a peaceful demonstration during lunchtime on Wednesday and vowed to continue until their demands are met.

The workers handed over a petition with various demands to the Deputy Chairperson of the Telecom Board, Amanda Hauuanga, who responded that the board would review the document and respond as soon as possible.

The workers are accusing the state-owned company’s management of putting their interests above those of the institution and ordinary employees.

They said in January this year, management gave themselves a 3.3 percent salary increment backdated to 1 October 2021, yet the employees have to bag for performance bonus that is due to them as per the company’s incentives policy.

In this light, employees are demanding that their performance bonuses for 2021/2022 should be paid in full with immediate effect.

According to NAPWU representative, Sophia Egelser, the absence of the board in holding executives accountable is also causing the company management not to hold each other accountable.

“There is also too much infighting within the company at the expense of customers,” Egelser said.

Egelser explained that despite poor service delivery in the company due to practices such as ageing network infrastructure and persistent cable theft amongst others, employees will still be able to provide better service delivery to customers if there is ethical management in the company while investments are made to upgrade the network infrastructures.

She said since 2020, critical positions have not been filled as agreed by the parties while the placement principles are due to expire end of next month.

“The Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Directors on several occasions ignored to rectify this abnormality that is now a new norm in Telecom Namibia,” she reiterated.

The employees further complained that some colleagues of lower ranks were suspended and dismissed for more than 2 years for minor losses and petty issues while nothing is happening to the management for huge losses and mismanagement of resources.

The company has been under public scrutiny for poor service delivery, with some members of the public suggesting that Telecom should be closed down.

However, Egelser said poor service delivery to customers is a result of mismanagement in the company.

“We are also demanding better service delivery in the company, saying customers are the kings who deserve quality service,’ she commented. They gave the board seven working days to respond to the petition or they will continue to demonstrate until their demands are addressed.The protesting employees also called for the suspension of the company’s Chief Executive Officer Stanley Shanapinda, alongside the Acting Chief Human Resources Officer, Head of Audit, and Chief Financial Officer. Shanapinda told this publication yesterday that he was in a meeting and could not respond.

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