Napwu loses NBC labour fight

Napwu loses NBC labour fight
Napwu loses NBC labour fight

Africa-Press – Namibia. The Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) lost the battle in which it was fighting to have the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) be found in contempt of a court order.

The order restricts NBC from making decisions relating to employees’ leave days and notch salary increases.

On Friday, Windhoek High Court judge Herman Oosthuizen dismissed Napwu’s application it had filed against NBC in March last year.

The court provided no reasons for the order at the time of going to print.

In its application, Napwu, through its secretary general Petrus Nevonga, accused NBC of not complying with the Labour Court’s order of 3 December 2021.

Besides the annual salary increases, NBC also provides notch salary increases to qualifying employees when possible.

Nevonga said NBC has not paid staff notch increases since 1 April 2021, and has asked employees to reduce their accumulated annual leave days.

In an 11 October 2021 circular, NBC staff were informed the company has revised the leave days’ payout from 90 days to 45 days, and that notch increases would be discontinued as of 1 April 2021. Aggrieved, Napwu approached the Labour Court, seeking an interdict against NBC from implementing its decisions as communicated to the staff on 11 October 2021.

The labour court granted the interdict, stating that NBC may not implement its decisions, nor make any unilateral decisions when it comes to staff leave days and salary notch increases.

This order, according to the court, shall stand until the parties resolve the matter that was before the conciliator, where the hearing was due to take place on 25 January 2022.

However, despite the interdict, NBC went ahead and abolished the salary notch increases.

Thus, in this dismissed application, apart from the contempt of court order sought, Napwu also wanted the court to compel NBC to comply with the court order of 3 December 2021, and to process all notch salary increase payments backdated to 3 December 2021.

In court documents, director general Stanley Similo denied the national broadcaster was in contempt. On the leave days, he said they have not taken steps to compel the employees to take leave to reduce their leave balances.

Similo said there is no evidence NBC has informed employees they will not receive their 90-day leave payout at the termination of employment.

In addition, the demand for the reinstatement of salary notch increases for 2021 came out of the blue, and was made with no particular context.

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