Air Namibia strike will hold dire consequences for tourism indus

04 Mar 2014 16:10pm
WINDHOEK, 04 MAR (NAMPA) - Tourism industry players are worried about the possible impact of a strike at Air Namibia from Wednesday this week.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN), Gitta Paetzold told Nampa on Tuesday that the strike is an extremely worrying issue for the industry.
“For the tourism industry, it is extremely worrying and disheartening to read about the threatened strike action of some Air Namibia staff, as such action would disrupt the tourism flow, causing severe unpleasantness for tourists and tarnishing Namibia's image as a safe and professional tourism destination,” she noted.
Paetzold said the positive mileage which Namibia gained through the successful hosting of international events in 2013 such as the Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS); the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP 11) of the United Nations’ Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); as well as the International Water Association (IWA) conference on water reclamation could be lost through the “selfish and short-sighted acts of some individuals”.
She went on to say that HAN honours and respects the rights of all employees, but it should be remembered that in tourism - an industry which faces strong competition from across the globe - shareholders should work together and towards a common goal of making Namibia the most desirable, attractive and convenient place to travel to.
The HAN CEO said only a thriving tourism industry can provide job security and employment-creation in future.
Meanwhile, the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Natau)’s General Secretary John Kwedhi said during a media conference on Tuesday that the strike will only be called off if management agrees to the employees’ salary demands.
“We still remain in the same situation, and come Wednesday, our members will withdraw their services until management listens to them,” he charged.
According to Kwedhi, the industrial action will take place simultaneously countrywide.
Natau earlier told the media that the union gave management a chance to reconsider its position of a 6.4 per cent total-cost-to-company (TCTC) increase imposed on union members during March 2013.
However, the parties reached a deadlock on 18 November 2013, and received a certificate of unresolved dispute from the Office of the Labour Commissioner in that regard.
Natau had proposed a seven per cent, as well as a nine per cent salary increment to Air Namibia management, to be implemented as from 01 April 2014.
The parties held their last meeting on 13 February 2014, whereby management made a request to Natau to forgo the 2013 negotiations and consider fresh 2014 salary negotiations.