Namibia: Hartlief Resumes Operations

Hartlief Continental Meat Products company in Windhoek will resume operations on Monday after its employees went on strike two weeks ago.

The employees went on strike on 28 December 2021 after a deadlock in wage negotiations and equal working conditions.

Last Friday, Hartlief and the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) signed a substantive agreement for the 2022 financial year which resulted in the strike being called off.

According to a joint media statement, the two parties agreed on a basic salary increase of N$770 for everyone in the bargaining unit (BU).

"Back pay of N$400 for six months will be paid on 20 January 2022, while a N$50 weekly performance incentive has been removed and is replaced by a N$200 increase to the basic salary. A monthly meat allowance of N$170 will be removed and replaced by a N$170 increase to the basic salary," reads the statement.

According to the statement, future salary increases will be negotiated on a percentage basis.

Hartlief also agreed to make the pension contribution of all employees equal at 11%. In the past the company had pension disparities, with some employees paying 11% and others 8%.

No changes were made to the housing allowance, which remains at N$1 770 for the majority of employees, and at N$500 for about 70 employees. Those on a N$500 housing allowance are mainly former Windhoek Schlachterei employees.

"No 13th cheque (bonus) will be paid in the 2022 financial year. In future, the 13th cheque will be subject to the company's performance, while a monthly production and performance incentive system based on the most critical key performance indicators (KPI's) will be co-designed between the employer and employees," said the statement.

The parties also agreed to remove all disputes filed at the Office of the Labour Commissioner.

Ruben Nghifimule, the employees' spokesperson, said the agreement was met with mixed emotions, especially with regard to the disparity in the housing allowance, by mainly the former Windhoek Schlachterei staff.

"The employees are relatively happy because of the salary increases, but they are also not very happy about other aspects of the agreement. That is not what they wanted but they have to accept it because it was a collective bargaining exercise," he said.

Nghifimule added that housing for the former Windhoek Schlachterei employees will again form part of the 2022 salary negotiations set to begin in April.

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