13 Jul 2013 09:00
WINDHOEK, 13 JUL (NAMPA) - Over 1 200 First National Bank of Namibia (FNB) employees have decided to embarked on industrial action on 31 July 2013 until the bank gives them a ?meaningful, reasonable and acceptable? salary increment.
This was announced by the Secretary-General of the Namibia Bank Workers Union (NBWU), Lawrence Ihuhua in a media statement issued on Friday.
The FNB employees are being represented by the union.
The bank?s employees on Tuesday (09 July) staged a peaceful demonstration after discussions between the FNB management and the union on salary increases reached a deadlock.
Ihuhua indicated that the union will stick to its demands of a 10 per cent salary increase and improved benefits.
He added that if an agreement is not reached by 19 July 2013, the union will go back to its initial demand of 12 per cent to cater for back payments.
The bank has indicated that it is offering its employees a 10,7 per cent overall improvement in remuneration, but NBWU was not happy with this offer as it called that the offer misleading, saying it actually represents a salary increase of about six per cent.
The 10,7 per cent apparently includes a once-off bonus and a reduction in the cost of home loans.
?The bonus is not part of our demands; it is a so-called golden handshake by the bank,? Ihuhua said in Friday?s statement.
He then urged all members to support the union and vote for a strike, saying the parties will sign off the strike rules at the office of the Labour Commissioner on Wednesday (17 July).
The secretary-general further warned that if the members vote against a strike, the bank has the right to implement their initial offer of 6,2 per cent (overall cost).
?The bank has taken a very long time to address the plight of the workers. We have been patient and lenient for a long time. The money that our members earn is so little, we don?t know whether to call it pocket money, a tip or a token of appreciation. The answer to the above is that a strike may be the only bargaining tool left for the union and its members as a way of putting pressure on the bank,? he noted.
Ihuhua also explained that improvements in the FNB employees? housing benefit are not being considered by the bank anymore.
The bank has amongst other things indicated that rather than improving the staff home loan scheme interest rate, which benefits only those staff availing of this benefit, the increase has now been spread across all employees in the bargaining unit by adjusting the minimum salary increases.
It said it is generally preferred to rather increase the basic salary directly, which increases the take-home pay of the employees and allow them to decide how to best make use of this additional income.