Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia Custom Smelters Signs Wage Agreement

The Namibia Custom Smelters has reached an agreement with the Mineworkers Union of Namibia to improve wages and benefits for all members.

Discussions which took place late last month between the two parties resulted in a once-off upward adjustment in basic salaries, provident fund and medical aid contributions, housing allowances and leave bonuses for employees in the A3 to C4 categories under the Paterson grading system.

Employees in the bargaining unit who were in service on 30 November last year were moved up to the maximum salary level of their grades. Members will also have their experience allowance and arduous conditions allowance included in their basic salaries from now on. The salary adjustments are to be backdated to 01 November 2012.

The agreement further calls for the existing leave bonus to be substituted with a 13th cheque scheme to be implemented as from 01 January this year. The 13th cheque will be paid when an employee begins his/her annual leave.

As part of the agreement, company and union officials will investigate the re-grading of positions within the A3 category. This will involve benchmarking similar positions within the industry, after which the re-grading will be conducted.

With regard to the production bonus currently being paid to members, the calculation of the payment will be changed to a different format whereby payments will be equal for all eligible employees.

The new agreement nullifies the three-year salary agreement that the parties signed back in August 2010.

In concluding their discussions, both parties agreed to amend the existing recognition agreement whereby the union must submit written proposals that have cost implications to management before 01 January each year. The negotiating committees of both parties must then start negotiations within 21 days receipt of such proposals.

"In its endeavour to be an employer of choice, NCS strives to pay competitive salaries, this exercise shows our company's intent to improve the earnings of our employees so as to be in line with market trends. The spirit of the interaction between management and the union was very positive which resulted in the speedy implementation of the salary adjustment before year end,"said NCS Human Resources Manager Sam Januarie.

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