Criminal offence to reduce domestic worker salary

01 Mar 2015 07:00am
WINDHOEK, 28 FEB (NAMPA) – The Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare said it is a criminal offence for an employer to reduce the salary of a domestic worker in order to be on par with the minimum wage introduced last year by his Ministry.
The minimum wage for domestic workers is set at N. dollars 1,218 per month and will come into effect on 01 April 2015.
The new wage will be subject to an increase equivalent to the consumer price index plus five percent as of April 01, 2016.
Addressing domestic workers at the Namibian Domestic and Allied Workers Union (NDAWU) conference in the capital on Friday, Alpheus Muheua expressed disappointment in recent media reports that some employers fired their domestic workers while others reduced the salaries of their domestic workers because of the introduction of the minimum wage by the Ministry of Labour late last year.
He therefore called on the domestic workers countrywide to report such cases to the offices of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare so that those employers could be dealt with accordingly.
“I am pleased to see that vigorous steps have been taken to re-launch NDAWU at this time, when the Wage Order issued by the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare is about to come into effect on 01 April 2015,” he said.
Also speaking at the same occasion, the Executive Director of the Africa Labour Research and Education Institute (ALREI) Hilma Shindondola-Mote called on NDAWU to make the mission of its campaign that no domestic worker in Namibia loses a job due to the minimum wage or have a wage reduced to the minimum wage.
She said the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare has done its job by introducing the minimum wage for domestic workers and therefore encouraged domestic workers to be watchdogs of that law.
She explained that collective bargaining is an essential component of trade union work, but collective bargaining in domestic work is unique due to various reasons such as that the sector is female dominated and there are many female related issues to be dealt with.
She noted that it is a sector where individuals work in isolation and employers are not well organised, and employers of domestic workers are not diverse and are not enterprises but also just individuals trying to make ends meet.
Collective bargaining in domestic work therefore has to be approached with the utmost sensitivity that it requires. She also proposed for the establishment of a domestic workers tripartite committee to negotiate collectively on behalf of domestic workers at a minimum whilst broader collective bargaining structures are being developed.
The monthly minimum wage for domestic workers is N. dollars 1 218 per month and will be subject to an increase equivalent to the consumer price index plus five percent as of April 01, 2016.
The congress ends on Sunday, 01 March 2015.
(NAMPA)
EK/LI/CT