This week in the Khuta – Labour hire firms bluffing on jobs?
The unnecessary emotional drama being played out in the public gallery by labour hire companies and their sidekicks should not be entertained by any serious thinking citizens of this country.
After listening to all the screaming from labour hire companies and those supporting them in recent weeks, I had an interview earlier in the week with Tim Parkhouse, the Secretary General of the Namibia Employers Federation (NEF). After the interview, I just couldn’t help but think that those showing their public “concerns” on casual workers job losses as a result of the coming into effect of the amended Labour Act are bluffing.
The new amended act seeks to protect workers from further exploitation by unscrupulous employers in cahoots with labour hire companies, something that is commendable. I think labour hire companies and their associates have unsuccessfully tried to turn people’s emotions against the new legislation in order to blackmail government into not implementing the amended Labour Act which came into effect on 01 August.
While labour hire companies and their associates have been reported in various media saying that the new regulations will result in job losses, I was surprised to hear the NEF Secretary General, saying it was rather too early to tell whether the amended act will result in any actual job losses.
If it is indeed too early to tell the consequences of the new act, why is there so much noise against the implementation of the said act? Are people just criticising the new act for the sake of criticising it, what is going on here? Are we now accustomed to criticising everything that comes from government without looking at the merits or demerits of our actions?
The NEF acknowledges that there has been rampant abuse of workers rights under the labour hire system something that the new act seeks to stop. If this is the case, why then is there such spirited resistance of the new act?
By not providing valuable arguments on why the new act should not be implemented and by resorting to rather weak arguments such as “the wording of the new legislation is too vague”, labour hire companies and their associates are not doing their cause any favour. I think the time has come for the labour hire companies to realise that their time in the sun is up, and there is no going back on the new legislation. The sooner they realise that, the better for everyone.
As the media, we have also contributed to the confusion. I don’t think we have actually been honest with ourselves or critically looked at the benefits of the new legislation before rushing to sensationalise the whole issue and blowing it out of proportion. Why are we throwing figures such as 7000 people left jobless as a result of the new legislation, when there is no evidence of such? What do we hope to gain by such irresponsible and gutter journalism?
Inevitably, some jobs will be lost, but that is to be expected. How many jobs will be lost is not known at the moment, and any figure being thrown at the moment is at best guess work.
I say, It’s high time workers enjoy the fruits of their labour by living decent lives befitting the status of a worker not the present scenario where you cannot differentiate between the employed and the unemployed.