20 November 2012

Namibia: Nampower's Spendthrift Bosses Under Fire

Windhoek — The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) yesterday was unhappy with the manner in which NamPower is handling the wage negotiations, especially the issue of the provision of medical aid after retirement.

According to the MUN, the provision of medical aid after retirement to ordinary NamPower staff is discriminatory since it favours only the company's managers.

"Management has demonstrated little comprehension of the matter," said Acting General Secretary of the MUN, Jakie Karumbo.

The major bone of contention in negotiations between NamPower and the MUN is the provision of medical aid after retirement, which the union says is applied on a discriminatory basis.

"The nation is led to believe that the N$88 million (for medical aid subsidy after retirement across the board) is too much for NamPower. But how does that compare with the N$14 million to only 48 management members who earn big salaries and can afford better medical aid," Karumbo said.

The MUN, on behalf of over 500 members at NamPower, is demanding a 10 percent wage increase across the board, an increment of 20 percent on the housing allowance for grades 10 to 17 and 100 percent medical aid subsidy across the board.

However, according to the union NamPower's management wants the wage increment to be based on the inflation rate, which now stands at just under 7 percent.

"When the inflation rate was around 10 percent the union proposed to use inflation as a yardstick, but NamPower management disregarded the proposal. Now why should we suddenly use inflation related rates for salary adjustments?" asked Karumbo.

The union is also disturbed by the fact that the managing director, Paulinus Shilamba, has two vehicles that are fully financed by NamPower and has access to a pool vehicle when one of his vehicles breaks down.

Furthermore, the union compared the MD to government ministers, saying that ministers travel the country by road while Shilamba opts to fly all over Namibia, "even to Otjiwarongo".

"What is the cost of NamPower's [flights, especially those] of the office of the MD? If NamPower can sustain such high costs for one person's luxuries, why is it strange and such a difficult matter for the rest of the people to demand the basics, or are we not worth the basics?" queried the acting MUN general secretary.

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