NWRWU to sue Ministry of Labour over 'incompetence'

22 Dec 2013 13:30pm
OSHAKATI, 22 DEC (NAMPA) - The Namibia Wholesale and Retail Workers Union (NWRWU) is accusing the Office of Labour Commissioner and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare of exposing workers to exploitation and vulnerability.
NWRWU Secretary-General Victor Hamunyela made this accusation at a media conference here on Friday.
He said the exposure of workers to exploitation by the very offices that are expected to enforce the labour laws, cannot be allowed to continue and his trade union is in the process of taking legal action against the two offices.
“We have decided to sue the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare for incompetence, especially among its labour inspectors,” Hamunyela stated.
He said his union will sue so that the ministry can pay for the losses incurred by workers as a result of their employers’ non-compliance with labour laws, such as those that give workers the right to belong to trade unions and to demand for better working conditions.
“The whole labour inspectorate division has proven to us that they are there, not to enforce the Labour Act, but rather to serve their own interests,” Hamunyela noted, adding that labour inspectors who are failing the workers by disregarding labour laws are actually condoning injustices that are perpetrated against the workers.
The NWRWU said all the labour inspectors who fail to enforce the labour should be dismissed from work and do not deserve to be called civil servants.
The union said there are certain companies that have been subjecting their workers to injustices by recruiting temporary workers to replace the permanent workers who were involved in legal strikes in which they demanded salary increments and improvements in their employment conditions.
Hamunyela said these companies are exploiting their Namibian workers in total disregard of the Labour Act, and the officials at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare are turning a blind eye to such injustices.
The relevant officials from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare could not be reached for their comment on these accusations over the weekend.