Lockout precedes strike at NPT

01 Mar 2017 19:10pm
WALVIS BAY, 01 MAR (NAMPA) – The management of Namibia Press and Tools (NPT) International at Walvis Bay on Monday implemented a lockout after an unresolved wage dispute.
NPT manufactures spare parts for Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen for export to Germany.
A lockout means the employer stops the employees from working days before the strike, presumably in an effort to have them agree to the company’s offer or to prevent the strike.
The lockout comes before a strike scheduled for Monday (06 March) by 17 employees affiliated to the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (Manwu).
Speaking to Nampa on Tuesday, Manwu’s organiser for the Walvis Bay branch, John Hinyekwa said despite the lockout, the strike will be staged.
He explained the union and company could not reach an agreement for a salary and housing allowance increment.
Hinyekwa said the employees demanded an increase of N.dollars 1.90 on their current hourly rate of N.dollars 16, but the company refused and only offered N.dollars 1.21.
On housing, the employees asked for a raise from the current N.dollars 560 to N.dollars 730 per month but the company only offered N.dollars 600.
Hinyekwa said as such, a dispute was conciliated on 16 February, a deadlock was reached and the conciliator issued the Certificate of Unresolved Dispute.
They then voted in favour of the strike and the submission of a notice of industrial action to the company by the union was issued, indicating the intended date of strike.
“We are still willing to negotiate if the company calls us to the table again,” said Hinyekwa.
Plant Manager at NPT, Wernher Riedel on Wednesday confirmed the lockout to Nampa.
He said they communicated and explained to the employees and union that NPT’s contracts have been running out, which cut their annual turnover in half over the past two years.
“What can be done to resolve the situation is that we need to realise that we need to understand the financial situation we are currently in and stand together.”