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Namibian tannery workers back at work

18 July, 2014The strike at Nakara Tannery in Windhoek has ended and workers returned to their stations on 11 July 2014 after an agreement was reached between the employer and the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (Manwu).

About 120 workers had been on a legal strike since 28 June 2014 after negotiations deadlocked on the demand from workers for transport to and from work. The strike was resolved after intervention by the Labour Ministry which led to a mediated process. Workers accepted that the company’s promise to look into the issue of transport by next year’s negotiation, the company said it required more time to plan for this. 

A 9% wage increase was agreed on across the board and the company agreed to back pay on the increase from March 2014 when the negotiations should have been concluded. Workers’ bonus pay, which the company threatened to withhold if workers went on strike, will to be negotiated as normal in October 2014.

“The union is happy if workers are happy, “says  Narina Pollmann, Deputy General Secretary of Manwu. “Workers were willing to meet the employer half way on their wage demand and were understanding of the company needing for more time to plan for transport. But the strike showed that in the next negotiations, workers’ demands on transport need to be taken seriously.”

Concerns on health and safety at the tannery had also been raised and Manwu is satisfied that labour inspectors have been sent out to investigate and will provide the union with a report.