Power utility downs tools

November 16, 2012, 1:43 am

A breakdown in talks between NamPower and the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) has plunged the state power utility into an indefinite industrial action, with a looming power crisis.

However, the company’s Board Chairman, Levi Hungamo, has calmed the nerves, saying the country will not be plunged into an unending darkness as the company is looking for avenues to deal with the crisis.

Both NamPower and MUN could not agree on the extension of 100% medical subsidy benefit to all employees prompting the marathon meeting held last night to find a last gasp solution to the industrial action to collapse today.

“We are currently still in connection with the unions and we have found remedies to stop the country from being plunged into darkness and that point will not come anytime soon. However, we cannot keep that promise in black and white but we are certainly hoping the labour action will not get us that far,” said Hungamo.

He added that, “The industrial action will affect our operations and our mandate to ensuring that power is generated, transmitted and supplied to all our customers in the country and beyond. We would however like to assure our customers that we have put contingency measures in place and will endeavour with minimum resources at our disposal to ensure that the impact on the supply of electricity to the national economy during the period is averted.”

The parastatal argues that they will have to find a whooping N$90 million to supplement the demands by the employees and that is not viable for the company.

“We are not able to part with N$90m to pay the medical aid demands by the employees otherwise that would come with a 4% increase on tariffs on the economy. We have also seen that the local economy is very sensitive to high tariffs so we cannot risk going that direction,” said Hungamo.