Job security overtaken by events but employers federation argues for restraint
The Namibian Employers Federation (NEF) this week cautioned its members that the court ruling of 23 June that set aside the Ministry of Labour’s restrictions on retrenchments, is not a carte blanche to retrench workers at will while using the lockdown as an excuse to do so.
“The NEF wishes to make it very clear we are as concerned as anyone about the current retrenchments, but the long-term sustainability of enterprises and thus the long-term sustainability of employment is of vital importance,” stated the federation in a note to members released on Tuesday.
The federation’s Secretary General, Daan Strauss said although the federation regards the ruling as a victory for the rule of law, a recent survey showed that only 30% of employers have retrenched staff or are planning to retrench, while the vast majority, 70%, indicated that they do not have plans to retrench. Furthermore, it also transpired that some companies who plan to retrench, have already started this process before the lockdown.
“Many employers who did retrench or are planning to,took up negotiations with unions and staff as a result of the country’s economic recession before the pandemic became evident. The NEF remains convinced that the majority of employers do not willfully wish to lay off their staff and that the economic survival of business in these times remains the overriding concern,” stated Strauss.
The federation reaffirmed its commitment to the tripartite relationship between employers, the government and the unions. “More than ever before open dialogue, mutual respect, good faith, trust and understanding between all stakeholders are vital to recover the country’s economy,” said Strauss.