11 October 2012

Namibia: Transnamib Needs Govt to Fund Wage Hikes

TRANSNAMIB is banking on financial assistance from the Ministry of Works to finance the salary hikes agreed to with the union on Tuesday.

Describing the road and rail carrier as "technically bankrupt", the acting CEO of TransNamib, Eugenia Tjaronda, said if there was no bailout from Government, the parastatal risked compromising on its capital projects.

TransNamib and the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau) on Tuesday reached agreement on salary increases after President Hifikepunye Pohamba intervened to avert an strike.

TransNamib recently said it would need an additional N$11 million annually to meet the workers' wage demands.

"The fact that the company is technically bankrupt was caused by numerous factors including capacity constraints, loss of business and clients, decrease in revenue, high maintenance costs, etc," Tjaronda said last week.

Both parties agreed to a compromise and an agreement was signed which stipulates that band A and B staff will get a 10% wage hike while the C-band will get 7%.

Meanwhile, The Namibian has learned that TransNamib last month requested N$2,1 billion from Government for the 2013-2016 financial years in order to clear its debts.

A detailed breakdown of the company's financial needs shows that TransNamib needs just over a billion dollars for the 2013/14 financial year, N$598 760 000 for 2014/15 and N$455 620 000 for the year after that.

TransNamib also requested the government to increase its annual allocation for maintenance of the national railway network.

"The current allocation of N$1 million per annum for rehabilitation and maintenance purposes is grossly insufficient as it costs around N$3 million to N$5 million to rehabilitate/upgrade a mere one kilometre of railway line," it stated in the request.

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