TUCNA demands national minimum wage

19 Feb 2017 15:40pm
WALVIS BAY, 19 FEB (NAMPA) – Namibia needs to introduce a minimum wage across all industries to stop the exploitation of workers by employers.
This was the call of the Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA) President, Paulus Hango when he delivered his speech at the annual state of the fisheries address in Walvis Bay on Friday.
“We demand the national minimum wage policy, designed to cover the needs of workers because it helps protect workers from abuse and is good for Government when workers become taxable.”
He suggested a minimum wage of N.dollars 20 per hour, saying such policy is implemented in South Africa, China, Indonesia and India, and is working well.
Hango said the introduction of a national minimum wage in Namibia will reduce the inequality gap and poverty, which will in turn translate into economic growth.
“Namibia has the highest level of inequality and in most cases such situations disturb peace and stability because they cause more strikes and physical confrontations.”
The unionist continued that their concern as workers' representative is the outsourcing of and temporary employment, which is a serious problem in the fishing industry, especially in the factories.
He said this arrangement violates the Namibian Constitution and Labour Act 11 of 2007, which demands the promotion of sound labour relations and fair employment practices.
Hango said another issues that need be addressed is workers' accommodation, especially for those in the fishing factories.
He said many workers in the fishing industry are still living in shacks made of cardboard, which is a sad state.
“The housing issue should be addressed as a matter of urgency. Employers must do everything in their power to build houses for their employees. These things must come to an end,” a clearly irritated Hango remarked.
He was critical of the housing allowance given to workers, saying this was not enough for them to get houses.
With the current amendment of the Labour Act 11 of 2007, Hango said the trade union’s input was that housing and transport allowances be made compulsory employment conditions.
“We have a situation whereby employees go to work in the night on foot or are being transported in the backs of trucks. We will no longer tolerate these situations because it is not safe for workers.”