Construction industry sets minimum wage
The Construction Industries Federation (CIF) and the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (MANWU) recently reached an agreement on the increase of minimum wage payable in the construction industry to N$17.38 per hour, from the current N$16.94 per hour.
Both parties once again negotiated a two-year “collective agreement” on behalf of their members. The agreement awaits promulgation by Utoni Nujoma, the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation.
The agreement stipulates the minimum wage requirements and employment conditions in Namibia’s construction industry, once promulgation has taken place. Of relevance to the industry will then be the adjustment to the minimum wages payable, which are to be increased by 2.6% for the first year after promulgation and by a further 2.6% after the second year of promulgation.
Bärbel Kirchner, general manager of the CIF said many business have closed down or scaled down drastically; large-scale retrenchment has taken place over the recent years; and many businesses sit with a cash flow crisis, especially in instances where there is still outstanding payment by government on certain projects.
“However, we feel that since the last increase had been in April 2018, a 2.6% increase on minimum wage payable is only fair. At the same time, we hope that the conditions for our sector will change, with an acute focus on securing more work for local contractors. Our lobbying efforts for greater regulation in view of the optimal development of our industry will continue,” Kirchner added.
Justina Jonas-Emvula, secretary-general of MANWU said negotiating for a wage increase for this sector at the moment was not an easy mandate, adding that the sector continues to face serious economic challenges especially during this time of COVID-19.
“As we are waiting for the gazetting process to be finalised, we continue to call upon all stakeholders in the sector to seriously consider localisation of construction works. We call for a fast-tracked implementation of the Construction Council, for it to be in place as quick as possible, to safeguard the sector. We urge Honorable Nujoma to help the sector by fast-tracking the process of gazetting the Collective Agreement,” Jonas-Emvula said.