13 August 2018

Namibia: Peaceful Demonstration a Violation - NTB

Workers of the Namibia Tourism Board could face disciplinary action over the peaceful demonstration they held early last month because it allegedly violated the recognition agreement between the state tourism body and the Namibia Public Workers Union.

This was revealed in a response by the environment and tourism ministry to the petition that the workers had submitted.

The workers demonstrated about various issues, including calling for the removal of the chief executive officer, Digu //Naobeb, with the support of Napwu.

The workers had also called for the removal of the board, for salary inconsistencies to be fixed, and for payroll administration positions to be filled, as well as for answers on the missing Kora awards millions.

The environment ministry's acting permanent secretary, Teofilus Nghitila, stated that the demonstration, although peaceful, was still in violation of the recognition agreement.

Through the agreement, workers have what they call a workers' union representative committee (Wurcom) for easier communication between workers and //Naobeb on issues of concern.

"Wurcom is actually in violation of the recognition agreement in that it has proceeded with the planned industrial action. Although this was done under the guise of a peaceful demonstration, the NTB is considering what steps to take to remedy this likely breach of the recognition agreement," stated Nghitila.

He also reprimanded the union, saying it was wrong to think that they could run the affairs of the NTB and feel entitled to question every decision that is taken, as the NTB would notify them or respond in terms of what was important.

"It [NTB] is also not obligated to respond in a matter that Wurcom dictates to executive management. It does not in any way violate the recognition agreement if Wurcom is unhappy with responses given [...]Wurcom has its place as a workers' representative body, but cannot be an executive decision-maker," continued Nghitila.

NTB chairperson Paul Brinkmann on Thursday said he had no objections to the response of the ministry to the petition.

He also called on employees to make use of internal channels when they have complaints, instead of constantly going to the Anti-Corruption Commission, media and the ministry.

Napwu general secretary Peter Nevonga confirmed that they received the petition and said he will only comment at a later stage.

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