Tucna members to demonstrate against Labour Ministry

17 Sep 2013 10:50
OTJIWARONGO, 17 SEP (NAMPA) – Members of the Trade Union Congress of Namibia (Tucna) will stage a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday here, Lüderitz and Walvis Bay to express concern over unfair treatment by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
Tucna Secretary-General Mahongora Kavihuha told Nampa in a telephonic interview on Tuesday that over 3 500 workers from Walvis Bay, Otjiwarongo and Lüderitz will take part in the march in their respective towns.
“The main demonstration would be in Walvis Bay (Erongo Region), where Tucna president Paulus Hango is going to deliver a keynote speech to the nation,” he said.
Kavihuha noted that another equally-important demonstration is set for Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa Region, where a petition will be handed to Labour Minister, Doreen Sioka who will be here at the time.
The union accused the Labour Ministry of apparently marginalising Tucna by excluding it from crucial national consultative tripartite meetings.
He said the tripartite consultative meetings involve trade unions representing employees, irrespective of their ideologies; Government and employers.
Kavihuha said it is during these meetings that crucial matters of unfair dismissals and unfair payment of workers, amongst other issues, are being discussed.
The unionist said it is not fair that the meetings are only attended by selected political party-affiliated trade unions such as the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW).
According to him, concerns of workers affiliated to Tucna are not being discussed in these meeting, since their trade union is not fully represented in such meetings.
Tucna is a registered trade union founded in May 2002 from a merger between the Namibia Federation of Trade Unions (Naftu) and the Namibia People’s Movement (NPM) in Windhoek.
It has over 70 000 members, including those from 15 sectoral trade unions.
Contacted for comment, the Chief Liaison Officer in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Paulus Ashipala said his ministry is aware of Tucna’s demonstration on Wednesday in Otjiwarongo.
“As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare will also hold a two-day consultative tripartite meeting in Otjiwarongo on Wednesday and Thursday, and Minister Doreen Sioka is expected to attend,” he said.
Ashipala, however, questioned what Tucna really wants, saying the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare invited a representative from Tucna to attend this two-day consultative tripartite meeting in Otjiwarongo.
He explained that Tucna is a member of the national Labour Advisory Council (LAC), and that representative also attends all crucial consultative tripartite meetings.