EMPLOYEES of the municipality of Otjiwarongo on Wednesday voted in favour of a strike after negotiations for a once off 14th cheque failed.
The municipality and the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) agreed on a once off 14th cheque payment to employees for the 2020/2021 financial year, rather than a salary increase.
According to Napwu Otjiwarongo branch organiser Hambira Mate, the municipality has delayed the payment with no explanation.
“We had to refer that matter to the labour commissioner’s office and we couldn’t even resolve it. We were then awarded a certificate of unresolved dispute. That is what we are facilitating now. That is the last option that we have,” Mate said.
Otjiwarongo chief executive officer Moses Matyayi dismissed the allegation that the council refused to pay the 14th cheque.
He says during during the 2021/2022 financial year, the council supported and approved the payment proposal, subject to ministerial approval.
“Council received a disapproval from the minister, in line with his discretionary legal mandate. The matter is a subject of a legal obligation and not a council discretionary mandate, but council has limited authority in this regard. It’s beyond their powers and functions,” he said.
Matyayi said several attempts to mitigate the matter between the two parties had proved futile.
Matyayi said the executive management and council remain seized, which they hope to conclude with the union.
“I urge our community and our stakeholders that they need not to panic yet and should just be on alert. Regular updates will be provided as soon as matters of the procedural process are collectively concluded.”