Domestic workers want minimum wage retracted

24 Mar 2015 08:50am
WINDHOEK, 24 MAR (NAMPA)- The general secretary of the Union of Institutional and Household Employees of Namibia (UIHENI) has called on the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation to immediately retract the newly introduced minimum wage for domestic workers.
The minimum wage of N. dollars 1 218 per month, which is N. dollars 56.21 per day, for domestic workers was gazetted on 24 December last year and will be implemented on 01 April 2015.
Delphia Suxus, who handed over a petition on behalf of the domestic workers during a peaceful demonstration to the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation here on Monday, explained that no proper consultation was done with domestic workers prior to the introduction of the minimum wage.
She said, with the introduction of the minimum wage, no consideration was given to a wage that would provide domestic workers with the financial stability to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Suxus is of the opinion that a domestic worker will not be able to sustain himself or herself or a household with just the minimum wage.
According to her, the minimum wage was determined without considering the economic significance of ‘household managers’ or domestic workers, noting that, “The contract for these workers is exploitative, not balancing the wage with the rate of performance and deliverance.”
Referring to a campaign that called for an increase in the wages of domestic workers and an overall improvement in their working conditions in June 2011, Suxus expressed concern that the recommendations of that campaign were not considered.
According to her, domestic workers through that campaign that ran for two months, asked for a minimum wage between N. dollars 100 and N. dollars 150.00 per day but those recommendations were never considered by the Wages Commission for Domestic Workers that was appointed in May 2012.
The campaign was in line with the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention on Domestic Workers (No. 89), which affirms that domestic workers are entitled to the protection of their rights and sectoral determination, which deals with the protection of workers in that particular sector.
She expressed disappointment in the Ministry for not attending UIHENI's meetings on 01 and 08 March 2015, which resulted in the writing of the petition submitted to that Ministry.
Reports in the local media have revealed that since the gazette of the domestic workers’ minimum wage last year, more than 25 domestic workers who were earning more than the minimum wage have lost their jobs to persons who are willing to settle for less.