Workers’ rights violated in 2015: Manwu

07 Jan 2016 15:50pm
SWAKOPMUND, 07 JAN (NAMPA) - The Metal and Allied Namibian Workers’ Union (Manwu) is calling on all employers to respect the rights of workers in 2016.
“In the year 2015, we witnessed a violation of workers’ rights, especially freedom of association. It has been observed that once workers join a union, they experience all sorts of intimidation from some employers.
“With these observations, we urge employers in this country to respect the employees’ freedom of association,” Manwu president Otto Nahambo said in a media statement issued on Wednesday.
Nahambo said there were many challenges in 2015, but it gave the union an opportunity to work on a strategic plan to give direction to priorities such as members’ needs, while guiding and advising unorganised workers in the construction sector.
The union’s biggest concern is the delay in gazetting the collective minimum wage of N.dollars 13.36 per hour and employment condition agreement signed between Manwu, the Construction Industries’ Federation (CIF) of Namibia, and the Office of the Labour Commissioner in June 2015.
Workers in higher positions such as artisans can earn up to N.dollars 42.87 per hour.
“Manwu was really disappointed that this agreement has taken so long to be gazetted. We once again request the Ministry of Labour to pull up its socks when it comes to these processes in the future.
“We can only reduce poverty if these issues are addressed on time and workers benefit in order to meet their daily needs. This delay caused our members to end 2015 with economic challenges, while employers still score profit over workers’ hard work.”
It was agreed that the minimum wages for all employees in the bargaining unit will be increased by 10 per cent in the first year and 10 per cent again in the second year.
The parties further agreed to adjust the service allowance from 144 hours to 150 hours, which means a worker will be paid equal to 150 hours of his/her wage. This will form part of their remuneration in December.
The allowance will be calculated pro-rata for each fully worked month that the employee was in service during that specific year.
Should an employee resign or their contract terminated before the end of the year, a pro-rata payment will be due to them.
The agreement allows employers to start paying workers the agreed percentages even before its gazetting.
Current information indicate that the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation released a call for objection on 29 October to run for 30 days. If there are no objections from the public, the line minister, Erkki Nghimtina, can go ahead with the gazetting.
Further information could not be obtained as the minister and officials are currently on leave.
Meanwhile, construction sites are slowly becoming more active around the country as the new year gathers pace and most construction sites are expected to be fully operational by the second week of January.