State job cuts anger Namibia’s Swapo

By SAPA Time of article published Jan 16, 2015

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Windhoek - The youth wing of Namibia's ruling Swapo party on Friday condemned nearly 1000 planned retrenchments at two State-owned enterprises.

“We condemn the proposed retrenchments of nearly 1000 workers at TransNamib and workers at the Road Construction Company (RCC) in the strongest terms,” Paulus Mbangu, the Swapo Youth League's labour secretary, told reporters.

“We stand in solidarity with the RCC and TransNamib workers. The Swapo-YL fully supports the two labour unions, whose members are affected, in their (declared) dispute over the restructuring plans and pledges solidarity of all our members in any mass action they may embark upon.”

The loss-making State-owned enterprise TransNamib handles all railway transport in Namibia and offers road transport for bulk goods Ä a highly competitive sector Ä and also operates a courier service.

It has struggled for the past two decades with ageing locomotives and rolling stock and cash-flow problems and has undertaken several restructuring exercises with retrenchments.

Namibia Transport and Allied Union (Natau) secretary general, John Kwedhi, said 963 of the total 1695 jobs at TransNamib would be axed.

“That means, 57 percent of the workforce will be jobless come April,” Kwedhi told a Sapa correspondent Friday.

“Our union was only informed by TransNamib on Thursday about what they call a 'right-sizing' exercise; but in that letter they write they notified the labour commission already a month ago, on 16 December 2014. One cannot treat employees like that,” Kwedhi said.

Acting CEO at TransNamib Hippy Tjivikua (SUBS: CORRECT) on Thursday apologised to Natau for the omission.

“I would like to register my unequivocal apology for the fact that we omitted to notify you ... when dealing with the retrenchment of our workers in terms of our recognition agreement with Natau,” Tjivikua wrote in a letter.

TransNamib intends to offer its non-core businesses, like the courier service and road transport, for sale to Natau's business arm, Zealot Investments.

Earlier in the week, the government's struggling road construction enterprise RCC publicly announced job cuts “to cut wage bill costs” but did not disclose figures.

“The wage bill is to be cut from eight million Namibia dollars monthly to three million Namibia dollars,” said acting CEO Pieter Oosthuizen in the statement.

Oosthuizen, a South African citizen, is also board chairman of TransNamib.


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