nbc and NAPWU sign new employee benefits agreement
The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (nbc) and the Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU) today (9 June, 2015) signed another employee benefits package agreement that will see increases in staff allowance for housing, transport, medical aid, vehicle maintenance and car allowance for managers. The agreement is with effect from 1 April 2015. NAPWU represents close to 80% of the nbc fulltime employees.
The wage agreement is unique in the sense that it has been concluded over a two year span since last year on substantive and other conditions of service for employees of the corporation. In the last financial year 2014/2015 all employees across the board received a 9% increase while this year the substantive increase is mostly included in their fringe benefits. The housing subsidy ratio is now agreed upon 62:38 employer/employee up from a ratio of 60:40 of last year. The medical aid contribution ratio has increased from 67:33 employer/employee ratio to 69:31 employer/employee ratio.
The agreement also provides, for the first time, rental allowance of N$730.00 to contract employees. Medical aid for contract employees has also been increased. nbc would employ about 30 contract employees during the 2015/16 financial year.
Speaking at the official signing ceremony at the nbc headquarters in Windhoek, Director-General Albertus Aochamub emphasized on the value of the benefits as a way of employee motivation to stimulate productivity. Aochamub said the nbc as a public corporation values all its employees and is committed towards fair labour practices that are also in line with the Namibian constitution. “We at nbc value all our employees as important and further believe in the value attached to contract employees and other freelance employees with specific valued skills,” said Aochamub. He added that a favourable housing allowance and medical cover resulted in a win-win situation for both the nbc and employees as they kept staff motivated.
NAPWU Deputy- General-Secretary Gabes Andumba congratulated the negotiating parties for a job well done and encouraged them to always endeavour to reach an amicable solution to avoid third party involvement and unnecessary labour confrontation, which in itself counterproductive.
Andumba applauded the nbc for recognising NAPWU as an exclusive bargaining agent to negotiate on behalf of its members in the bargaining unit. “NAPWU is totally committed to the improvement of the benefit and the condition of service of our members through a collective bargaining process, as provided for in our recognition agreement, labour laws and the Namibian constitution,” he said.
nbc and NAPWU agreed that the corporation’s housing policy needed to be reviewed. From the onset, the agenda of the negotiations set out to address the issue of housing provision, which is not only an issue critical to nbc employees but to each and every Namibian. As such, the nbc has committed itself to investigate the best options for the provision of low-cost and affordable housing to its staff members. In this regard, the nbc would pursue discussions with the NHE and municipalities countrywide for the provision of affordable housing for the staff.
The public broadcaster has also committed itself to assist permanent employees without driving licences, starting with those who occupy critical positions.