Dreaded labour directive published as Proclamation 16 ahead of meeting between industry and ministry
A virtual meeting scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, 29 April 2020, has been cancelled by the Namibian Employers Federation (NEF) after the labour ministry unilaterally went ahead and published the labour directive, Proclamation 16, on the previous afternoon, Tuesday.
The federation’s Secretary General, Daan Strauss said in a statement issued on Wednesday, the aim of the urgent meeting was nullified after Proclamation 16, in particular Section 19, was published in the Government Gazette.
This proclamation was circulated as a draft directive in the week before its publication. The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation released the draft, stating that it was the result of collaboration between employer representatives, union members, and the ministry. This claim was refuted by the Namibian Employers Federation who stated that the content of the draft directive went against the tentative agreements reached in earlier meetings.
Amongst others, Proclamation 16 prohibits any employer to “(a) dismiss an employee or serve a notice of collective termination in terms of section 24 of the [Labour] Act; (b) terminate the employment relationship with an employee; or (c) summarily dismiss or send an employee home on unpaid leave, forced annual leave or sick leave.”
Expressing solidarity with employers, the federation said it has done everything in its power to mitigate the financial losses and other related damages that will be caused by Proclamation 16.
Stating that litigation is not excluded as an option, the federation said it is now forced to take alternative courses of action.
“The NEF is deeply disappointment by some actions and comments on the side of government and trade unions which are regarded as being against the principles of equality within the tripartite arrangement as recommended by the International Labour Organisation,” stated the federation.