17 December 2012

Namibia: Public Servants Should Be 'Calm and Patient'

THE secretary to Cabinet, Frans Kapofi, yesterday called for "calm and patience" among civil servants over the delayed backpay following an eight percent salary increase that was agreed between the government and union negotiating teams.

The increase was agreed to early last month, but the government has been unable to say when the backpay and the increase will be effected.

Kapofi told The Namibian yesterday that there is no definitive date when the money will be paid out.

On Friday, government-owned newspaper New Era quoted Kapofi as saying civil servants would get their money within a week's time.

Yesterday, Kapofi told The Namibian that the civil servants would be informed when the payments would be made.

"They should be patient and not worry. They won't regret waiting. The government cares about them," he said.

Since signing the deal in November, civil servants have been asking when they will receive their higher salaries.

In November teachers went on strike over not being informed by the union about the progress of their salary negotiations. Now the entire civil service together with the teachers are again in the dark over when the increases will be effected.

Kapofi also called on unhappy civil servants to contact him and enquire rather than go to the media. "They have my number, just like you do. I will respond to them if they ask me," he said.

"They should stop threatening us that they will strike," he added.

The new remuneration packages, which include an 8% salary increase, better housing allowances, incentives for working in remote areas, higher transport allowances and kilometre tariffs, as well as improved medical aid benefits, will cost Government an additional N$1,3 billion this financial year alone. Until 2014-15, it will cost Government an estimated N$5,2 billion more, driving up the total public wage bill for the period to nearly N$50 billion.

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