nbc threatens job cuts

14 September 2018 Author   Eliaser Ndeyanale

Perennial loss-making State-owned broadcaster, nbc, is said to be considering shedding some jobs, the Windhoek Observer has established. 
Sources at the national broadcaster said this week that Director General, Stanley Similo, told staff members on Monday that management is considering retrenching some of the employees in order to cut costs.

They did not say how many workers will be affected or how much the state broadcaster wants to save after the retrenchment exercise.
nbc Chief Commercial Officer: Commercial Services, Umbi Karuaihe-Upi, admitted that the broadcaster is struggling to honour some of its commitments, including staffing expenses, but ruled out immediate retrenchments.  
“There are ongoing consultations between the relevant ministries (including our line ministry), board, and management to address the situation amicably. As a responsible public institution, staff retrenchments are seen as a last option, if all else fails,” Karuaihe-Upi said. 
She said it is premature at this stage for management to comment on retrenchments in view of the ongoing consultations.
Information, Communication and Technology Minister, Stanley Simataa, said he is not aware of any pending retrenchments before referring further questions to Similo and nbc board chairperson, Sven Thieme. 
“What I am aware of is that nbc is facing financial challenges, but we are busy finding ways on how to address them,” the minister said.
Thieme denied that nbc wants to retrench some of its, but said they are considering cutting workers’ subsidies without providing details. 
Similo did not respond to a text message sent to him on Thursday.
nbc workers recently took to the streets demanding that the company pays an overdue 6% salary increase. 
The national broadcaster has also in the past made headlines after it failed to remit medical aid deductions from staff members. 
Media reports suggested that money deducted for medical aid was being used to keep the broadcaster afloat.
Staff also risk having their pensions frozen after the state broadcaster failed to pay their contributions to the company that manages their pension fund. 
Retirement Fund Solutions (RFS) has given nbc until the end of this month to pay outstanding contributions for its workers' pensions.
nbc owes RFS N$10 million for five months' cover.
An employee who confirmed Monday’s meeting claimed that freelance workers will be affected the most by the decision to cut jobs.
The broadcaster was allocated N$150 million by Treasury in the current financial year.
The Windhoek Observer could not establish how much nbc spends on salaries and benefits to employees.

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