NAFAU calls for worker unity ahead of industrial action voting

27 Sep 2019 12:00pm
WINDHOEK, 27 SEP (NAMPA) - Namibian Food and Allied Workers Union (NAFAU) deputy secretary general, Absalom Willem has called on workers to unite ahead of planned industrial action provisionally set for early October in Windhoek.
Willem was speaking in the capital during a media briefing on Thursday, following a cancelled peaceful demonstration after Pick n Pay management refused to receive a petition for the intended strike and instead referred the union to the labour commission to take up their case.
The union intended to hand over the petition after the management failed to meet their demand for a salary increase.
“We are left with no other option but to go and vote either in favour or against industrial action,” Willem said.
The ongoing wage dispute is over a salary increase, transport allowance, housing allowance, bonus, supervisor adjustment and back pay.
He said workers have a legal right to vote against or in favour of industrial action when their employer treats them unfairly.
“We therefore call upon all Pick n Pay employees to stand firm and to be ready for the strike ballot. We would also like to inform the workers who were deceived to sign an attendance list without their knowledge that the attendance sheet was affixed with a sentence stating that they have accepted the company offer, to disregard such list,” he said.
NAFAU is demanding that employees get a N.dollar 300 increase for the first year and another N.dollars 300 the following year while Pick n Pay is offering a smaller amount split over three years.
The unionist said after the deadlock, the dispute of interest was declared with the Office of the Labour Commissioner on 28 June 2019.
The parties failed to reach an agreement at the conciliation meeting held there on 03 September and as a result, the certificate of unresolved dispute was issued to the parties on 09 September 2019, he added.
Willem said NAFAU and Pick n Pay will sign the rules of the strike on 02 October 2019 at the labour commission and thereafter, the date will be communicated to all employees to vote either for or against a strike.