Unions soon to approach employers amidst hiking inflation

Martin Endjala

With the prevalent high inflation, workers unions are now contemplating approaching employers for wage negotiations for their members. This is in light of the repo rate, expected to be at 25 basis points. This week, the Bank of Namibia will pronounce itself on the matter.

According to a report by Simonis Storm issued last Friday, the Bank of Namibia is expected to hike the repo rate by 25 basis points each in their 19 April and 14 June 2023 meetings, translating to a repo rate of 7.5 percent by mid-2023.

The Windhoek Observer has, in the meantime spoken to the Mine Workers Union Secretary General Paul Situmba who said that the union will continue to remain true to its mandate and objectives which are to protect and fight for the interest of its workers.

“We may not be experts on the economy, but we are yet to comprehend why the repo rate keeps increasing, it is unfortunate. As a union our mandate and objective won’t change. We are here to represent our workers, when such things strike, employers must be ready and aware when we come knocking on their doors, that times are getting tough and demand for better wages”, he added.

Situmba stressed that if the repo rate continues increasing, they will be forced to step in and demand more to safeguard the livelihoods of the workers as a union.

“Life is becoming expensive, times are becoming tough, it is time to share the cake equally,” he said.

He, however, expressed his discontent towards alleged poor leadership by the government for not utilising natural resources to benefit the majority and not the minority.

“It is so sad for an apparent population of three million in Namibia to continue complaining about food security and youth unemployment or even the repo rate, this all boils down to poor leadership, are you telling me that with all these resources the government cannot ensure food security and employability, this needs to change, “Situmba added.

Furthermore, Situmba stated that on the other hand, it might be a good thing that the repo rate is expected to increase as this will serve as a wake-up call to employers particularly in the mining sector.

“Many of these owners and shareholders are sitting somewhere in Europe drinking a cup coffee right now, while the workers who are putting money into their pockets for them to have a luxury life are feeling the pinch of the inflation. With the high inflations many workers will require salary increments to survive, or risk jeopardizing their livelihoods. This, in turn, will have a negative impact on worker’s performances at their jobs,”Situmba added.

He has since urged the government to ensure that it maximizes the country’s resources to benefit all Namibians, or else it will face the wrath of its citizens, adding that citizens are tired and” the youth of today are like a bomb ready to explode anytime if the government does not pull up its socks,”.

Mally Likukela an Economist with Twilight Capital said that the central bank cannot do anything about interest rates but increase the repo rate to safeguard against inflation rate.

He did, however, state, that it will be up to the government to step in and do something about the inflation rate in terms of safeguarding people’s lives, which he stressed will be heavily impacted by the hike.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Namibian Workers Secretary General Job Muniaro in a previous interview with this publication cautioned the government to come up with an incentive package for all Namibians, or workers will demand salary increases as the repo rate increases.

Last month the Bank of Namibia’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to hike the repo rate by 0.25 percent basis points to seven percent from 6.75 percent. The inflation rate also increased from 6.90 percent to seven percent respectively.

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