Ministry of Labour will not retract domestic minimum wage

30 Mar 2015 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 30 MAR (NAMPA)- The Deputy Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Alpheus Muheua, said his office will not retract the minimum wage for domestic workers, which will come into effect on 01 April 2015.
Speaking at a media conference on the official announcement of the minimum wage for domestic workers at that ministry on Monday, Muheua was responding to a petition that was handed over to that ministry last week by domestic workers through the Union for Institutional and Household Employees of Namibia (UIHENI).
In their petition, the union representing about one thousand domestic workers demand the ministry to retract the minimum wage, claiming no consideration was given to a wage that would provide domestic workers with the financial stability to ensure a sustainable livelihood.
The minimum wage of N. dollars 1 218 per month and N. dollars 56.21 per day, for domestic workers was gazetted on 24 December last year.
The Deputy Minister made it clear, “ We are not going to bow under pressure because we are a responsible government.”
He explained that trade unions responsible for domestic workers should rather negotiate with the employers to make sure that their members are paid more than the minimum wage.
“This is the first minimum wage for domestic workers and we encourage for a relationship between the employer and employee, through the trade unions, to negotiate rates, payments and conditions of services for their members,” he stressed.
He said that employers, who fired their domestic workers due to the introduction of the minimum wage, have violated the law and should be reported to the offices of his ministry. The responsibility of reporting such violations lies with the employee, he said.
Muheua further noted that his ministry would soon embark upon a countrywide campaign to educate employers and employees on their rights, and create awareness on the minimum wage so as to establish a better understanding of the minimum wage.
In their petition, the union said the minimum wage was determined without considering the economic significance of ‘household managers’ or domestic workers, and described the contract of these workers as exploitative for not balancing the wage with the rate of performance and deliverance.
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.