No tenders to contractors not adhering to labour laws – MANWU
The Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (MANWU) has called on the government and other private businesses not to give construction tenders to contractors violating the country’s labour laws.
In a joint statement issued by MANWU and the Construction Industries Federation of Namibia (CIF) this week, MANWU General Secretary Justina Jonas said: “We want to ensure that construction workers are paid rightful wages and decent conditions of employment are maintained. A serious call to the government is to ensure not to give tenders to employers who are not complying with the labour laws, as per the President’s statement. We are still witnessing companies given tenders even though they are known not to comply with the national labour laws.”
Jonas said paying construction workers “a rightful wage“will go a long way to alleviate poverty.
“We also appeal to the companies as well as to the government who give tenders to the contractors and all individuals who have their houses renovated, to ensure that appointed contractors or subcontractors are paying their workers as per the Government Gazette,” Jonas added.
The call by MANWU comes after the publication of Government Gazette No. 5372 on 24 December 2013. The gazette spells out the minimum employment conditions in the construction industry.
The promulgated collective agreement covers minimum wages for labourers and different categories of skilled and semi-skilled artisans, health and safety standards, minimum protective clothing, minimum productivity levels, living away allowances and service allowances. According to the Gazette, minimum wages in the construction sector will be increased by 9% for the first year and 9.5% for the subsequent year. The increase for the first year will be backdated from 15 September 2013 until 31 May 2014 while the increase for the second year will be applicable from 1 June 2014 to 31 May 2015.
The two parties said they will now meet regularly to discuss matters affecting workers in the construction sector. Baerbel Kirchner, Consulting General Manager of the CIF said it is critical that all contractors in Namibia’s construction industry strive towards adherence of all laws, including minimum wage and employment conditions.
“It is in everybody’s interest that the minimum wages are being paid across the industry, and that optimal work conditions are maintained. This will ensure the avoidance of cost differentiation to the detriment of workers in the industry and would help the industry getting closer to a more equal playing field.
“Enforcement of minimum employment conditions by the authorities is also critical. Construction sites must be visited regularly. It is therefore important that the capacity of the labour inspectorate will be enhanced; and that inspectors also acquaint themselves with the requirements as reflected in Government Gazette No. 5372.”
The least paid worker in the construction industry, according to the Government Gazette now earns N$12.11 per hour while the highest paid work now earns N$35.59.