TransNamib wage dispute resolved

O’Brien Simasiku

The national rail operator TransNamib and Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau) have agreed on a wage review and also concluded to work together in generating N$45 million on average each month, as a means to avert some of the carrier’s financial headaches.

Employees have been on a strike for two weeks after they voted to engage in an industrial action when wage negotiations deadlocked.

The parties today however agreed to increase the salary of employees in A-Band by 5.5%, B-Band 4.5% and C-Band 3.5%, and a further N$100 on transport, which will adjust the current N$542 to N$642.

“In the spirit of goodwill TransNamib will not apply the No Work, No Pay principle as previously planned and envisaged. Equally Natau has waived 22 month of back pay, and workers will receive three months instead,” said TransNamib spokesperson Abigail Raubenheimer, when announcing the latest development today.

The agreement comes into effect on 16 November 2022, and will only be valid for 2019-20 to 2022/23 financial years.

“To ensure that the trajectory of TransNamib changes and the company moves forward to sustainability, TransNamib and Natau have agreed to form a united team between them as parties, that will meet at least on a monthly basis in order to deal with all matters pertaining to vastly improving the relationships in the organisation. This is with a view to foster team building, culture change initiatives, and especially high performance for all TransNamib employees.”

In addition, she said, the parties also confirmed their commitment to jointly work together to increase income to an average level of N$45 million per month by the beginning of the next financial period.

The salary negotiations dates back to 2019, when the union presented a request to have remunerations adjusted by 18% for A-Band workers, 15% B-Band, and 13% for C-Band, before it was rejected and later reduced to 15% for employees within the A band, 13% for the workers falling within the B band, and 9% for those within the C band.

The parties could however not reach any consensus, prompting another offer of 7% increment for the A band, 5.5% for the B band, and 3.5% for the C band, while the very last option before striking was a 7% salary increase across the board.

Previous reports indicated that the rail parastatal was suffering losses of N$10 million monthly and the strike put further pressure on its finances, which saw the entity disposing off some of its assets countrywide in order to offset the financial burden.

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