Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Utoni Nujoma has said it is unfortunate that employees of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) declared a strike over salary increases amidst the economic crisis in the country.
He made the remarks at Oshakati during a consultative meeting with his ministry’s stakeholders on Wednesday.
According to Nujoma, national industrial action by the NBC employees is also taking place whilst Namibia, like other countries in the world, is faced with the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have to learn to do more with less and to live within the means available,” the minister urged, adding that besides the NBC employees, civil servants in Namibia have also gone without salary increments for a couple of years.
This, Nujoma said, is due to the fact that the country’s economic situation is “not good”. He told his audience that workers have been laid off and a number of local companies are paying reduced salaries due to the impact of COVID-19.
He singled out tourism as one of the sectors negatively affected by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, coordinator of the Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU) for the northern regions, Gerson Nghitaunapo told the meeting that a number of employees continue to be exploited in the security industry.
He asked why security companies, which are well known to be violating the Labour Act by for instance not paying minimum wage or always paying their employees late, continue to be awarded government tenders.
On his part the ministry’s executive director, Bro-Mathew Shinguadja warned that security companies would decrease their chances for government tenders by making themselves guilty of employee exploitation.
“The government has a responsibility to assure security in the country and therefore, the gesture offered to companies to do business with government could be done away with if the situation of mistreating workers does not improve,” Shinguadja stated.
Nujoma’s team is visiting the regions to engage stakeholders on labour and industrial-related issues.
Source: Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA)