|April 26, 2002
Trade Union dumps AirNam deal
In a surprise turnaround, the
National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW had relinquished its 10 per cent
shareholding in the new privatised Air Namibia.
The announcement of
April 25, which throws the spotlight on divisions in the trade union federation
hierarchy, was made by NUNW President, Risto Kapenda, at a press conference in
Windhoek. It comes in the wake of the trade union federation's Central
Executive Committee (CEC) meeting held on Saturday, April 27.
NUNW's investment arm, Labour Investment Holdings (LIH), had already appointed
the unions former Secretary General, Ranga Haikali, to take up the position of
Human Resources Manager in the privatised Air Namibia. The announcement threw
the arrangement into disarray. Finance Minister Nangolo Mbumba, who is Air
Namibia's shareholder Minister, said that the NUNW had informed him of the
decision. "We respect their decision but it did not come as a surprise to us.
We will try to solve that problem," Mbumba said. The Minister said Government
will continue with the restructuring of Air Namibia despite the NUNW's decision
not to be party to the process.
Government, the sole owner of Air
Namibia, had said that from July 1 2002 it would shed its shares in the airline
and only retain a 25 per cent stake in the privatised airline. According to the
proposal currently on the table, South African Airlink will have the majority
shareholding in Air Namibia (40 per cent), local aviation company, Comav, would
take up 15 per cent with LIH taking 10 per cent. The LIH, Kapenda said, had not
only been instructed to withdraw from the Air Namibia deal, but the union had
categorically rejected the 10 per cent shareholding it was offered. A
six-person committee, headed by Kapenda, has been appointed to seek an audience
with Air Namibia as well top political leadership in a bid to reverse the
privatisation of the airline. (THE NAMIBIAN)