9 August 2018

Namibia: 'We Are Underpaid'

NAMIBIA Qualifications Authority employees have claimed that they are underpaid by the institution while top executives receive high salaries.

They made these claims during a peaceful demonstration at the authority's offices yesterday, where they demanded that the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) increases their salaries for the 2018/19 financial year, and prioritise their housing demands.

The employees further alleged that they are being abused and made to do double work in positions they were not originally employed in.

Reading the petition yesterday in front of NQA deputy chief executive, Asnath Kaperu, was Josef Shonghela, chairperson of the workers' committee.

He said: "The NQA employees are underpaid. This was acknowledged in a meeting with the affected staff members, human resources officials and some management members in March 2017. We, the workers, demand a salary increase and an improvement in the housing benefits from the current 21%. We also demand that the increment which was offered in the negotiations be withdrawn."

Shonghela added that some employees are being secretly promoted, even though they do not have the right qualifications, while other employees are not given a fair chance to apply for vacant positions.

"The fair chance is only given to outsiders, and a few employees from within. By the way, why is the NQA recruiting new staff when there are severe budget cuts? This is especially in higher positions that costs the company more money."

Shonghela further stressed that employees also want to see career growth while at the NQA, but currently, they are stagnant in the same positions.

"Most employees are demotivated and discouraged. There is a lot of exploitation and abuse of power, as well as poor leadership and management. Salaries at the NQA are not properly aligned, as new employees are paid more than those who have been long at the NQA. For many years, salary increments which have been applied across the board only benefited the executive management, who already earn high salaries," he reiterated.

He further claimed that some management members' salaries were recently increased without council's approval, and "the Anti-Corruption Commission should investigate these irregularities, and the lack of transparency."

He further made reference to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, which the petitioners alleged had been changed to benefit executives, as opposed to having a structure that will grow the careers of all the employees.

"The report also revealed that executives are overpaid, and that top management also gets a 13th cheque," Shonghela added.

Kaperu, who received the petition, said the company takes into consideration the demands of the employees, and will give the petition to the right parties who need to act on it.

"Thank you for the way in which you conducted this demonstration, it was indeed peaceful. We shall look into the demands, but in the meantime, you can go back and work hard, like you always do," she urged.

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