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Domestic workers demand increase in wages

Alfred Angula, general secretary of Namibia Farmworkers Union (Photograph by Johanna Absalom) A campaign which calls for an increase in the wages of domestic workers and an overall improvement in their working conditions, is in full swing.
The Namibia Farm Workers Union and the Namibia Domestic Workers Union plan to submit a proposal which sets a minimum wage for domestic workers to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in March next year, said Alfred Angula, general secretary of Namibia Farm Workers Union.
This follows after the just ended ‘Minimum Wage for Domestic Workers’ campaign.
The campaign was launched in June this year in order to give voice to workers and urge the public to recommend a possible minimum wage for domestic workers. Results of the campaign were released in Windhoek this week.
According to Angula, the majority of those who participated in the campaign, suggested that domestic workers should get paid an average of N$100 per day, which culminates to N$2000 per month. Results were taken from 483 domestic workers who visited the union’s office, 228 who called the office and 662 who cast their vote for the minimum wage via SMS.
The campaign is in line with the International Labour Organisation’s Convention on domestic workers (No. 89) that affirms that domestic workers are entitled to the protection of their rights and sectoral determination, which deals with the protection of workers.
Angula said domestic workers are faced with challenges such as low levels of remuneration and payment based on gender as well as abusive practices in respect of the payment of wages. “Currently, we have observed the increment of water, food, electricity and basically all the human basic needs but we have not seen an increment in the salaries of domestic workers in Namibia,” he said.
Unions, in partnership with the Labour Resource and Research Institute (LaRRI), will be conducting a study in all 13 regions to further explore and identify a suitable amount and how the minimum wage can be implemented, considering the diverse economic and social conditions.
Plans are also in place to draft a contract of employment for domestic workers as most of them do not have any.

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