Labour Act limits unions: Kavihuha

19 Sep 2018 06:30am
SWAKOPMUND, 19 SEP (NAMPA) – Trade unions are labelled weak and accused of losing focus and relevancy, but this is due to a number of limitations by the Labour Act, Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA) secretary-general, Mahongora Kavihuha says.
TUCNA wants to radicalise the labour movement by confronting policies head-on and redefine its role, Kavihuha told Nampa on the sidelines of a two-day TUCNA workshop that started in Swakopmund on Monday.
“This redefinition can only be done through the main policy, which is the Labour Act, and this is what we are aiming to get from this workshop,” he said.
The workshop dealt with the amendment of the Namibian Labour Act of 2007, which aims to consolidate and amend the labour law; establish a comprehensive labour law for all employers and employees and to entrench fundamental labour rights and protections, amongst others.
Kavihuha added that the union has observed various clauses in the Labour Act which “make the lives of workers difficult.”
Making reference to the highly-publicised Shoprite employees’ strike, he claimed that the behaviour of the employers was a direct result of the failure of the Act.
Shoprite Namibia had decided to sue 93 of its employees for N.dollars 4.5 million for staging a strike, but later dropped the action.
Additionally, the workshop aims to discuss the structure for social dialogue as outlined in the Act, which the association deems inadequate especially during the ongoing depreciating economic state.
“We need workers, businesses and the government to come together and pave a way forward during this tough economic time, however, this is not happening in Namibia. Therefore, we need to strengthen the social structure issue so that there can be a partnership within a tripartite consultation,” Kavihuha said.
Issues like these are why TUCNA initiated the workshop for union representatives, seeing the need to interrogate the clauses in the Act which need to be improved, he said.
The workshop will be taking place in Mariental next, before proceeding to several other towns around the country.
Kavihuha noted that the findings from the workshops will be compiled and submitted to the government, with the hope that amendments will be made.