Kaapanda steps into NBC strike
Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Director General Albertus Aochamub could not give a definite date when the ongoing strike will be brought to an end.
Information and Communication Technology Minister Joel Kaapanda has pleaded with the workers to return to work.
Kaapanda has written a letter to the workers, yet to be delivered, urging them to return to resume work while their demands are being handled at top levels of government.
Thus far, thousands of Namibiansare currently made to listen to non-stop music because of suspended radio services, while television programming is completely off since Wednesday when the workers first went on strike.
Aochamub yesterday confirmed that despite several high level meetings held since Wednesday, no solution is in sight for bringing the strike involving at least 405 employees country-wide to an end.
NBC management earlier has held marathon meetings with Kaapanda and senior staff at the ministry to look for solutions; but nothing has came off it thus far.
Namibian Sun understands that a Cabinet Committee on Treasury also held talks surrounding the N$9 million that the NBC is looking for to effect the salary adjustments.
The committee, chaired by Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, is likely to place the NBC funding issue on the agenda of a Cabinet session scheduled for tomorrow.
But Aochamub said since they were not privy to any agenda items on the Cabinet roll, he was not certain if the issue will be discussed at the Cabinet meeting that sees Government ministers debate on, approve or reject, matters of national importance.
The NBC had initially struck a deal for a 4% salary increase with the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu), the union to which the majority of the employees at the company belong.
A union representative yesterday confirmed that the situation remains the same since the employees had gone on strike last week.
“We have asked our members to go to work as usual, but they will still camp outside the main gate at the Television Centre in Cullinan Street in the Northern Industrial Area,” he said.
A ballot on whether to strike or not, had found an overwhelming majority in favour of the strike after over 200 members voted, now leaving them without anything to do since last Wednesday midnight.
“The NBC delivers essential services to the people. It might not seem important for the educated and the elite in the country to some extent, but it is vital for the rural communities in rural Namibia as they depend on it,” said a sad Aochamub yesterday.
Aochamub said that advertisers were affected by the strike as no adverts are being aired through either the radio or TV mediums, but he promised that the ones who lost out will be compensated.
He said the NBC will however not lose revenue through the black-out as most advertisers commit themselves upfront with payments, while the ones who wanted to advertise during the days of the strike will possibly have another chance.
“The advertisers will be compensated through time slots that will be changed to still accommodate their adverts when we get back on air. Initially, we have a clause in a contract with each advertiser that states that in an event where we are unable to air their adverts due to situations like an industrial strike, provision is made that it can still be forwarded to another date and time-slot and therefore will still be accommodated,” he said.
The NBC has prime-time advertisers who make use of advertising space before and after main news bulletins on radio and television and this Aochamub says will be catered for once normal services resume.