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Labour Ministry clarifies delay in extension of collective agreement in construction sector

Labour Ministry clarifies delay in extension of collective agreement in construction sector

The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations, and Employment Creation (MLIREC) recently issued a statement addressing the delay in extending the Collective Agreement for the Construction Sector.

The ministry in a statement clarified the circumstances surrounding the delay while refuting accusations made by the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Unions (MANWU).

According to the ministry, the delay stems from an application from the Construction Industries Federation (CIF) and MANWU on 04 October 2023, to extend the Collective Agreement throughout the entire sector. As part of the legal process, the Ministry submitted a Notice to the Ministry of Justice on 31 October 2023. This resulted in the publication of a Government Gazette on 20 December 2023, inviting public objections. The Gazette allowed for 30 days for objections, concluding on 19 January 2024, with an additional 14-day grace period.

However, it was discovered that the version of the Collective Agreement received by the ministry was incorrect, and this erroneous version was used throughout the process and subsequently published in the Government Gazette on 20 December 2023. The CIF admitted to submitting the incorrect version on 01 February 2024 and provided the correct version to the Ministry on the same day.

The ministry emphasizes that both CIF and MANWU, parties to the Agreement, hold equal responsibility for submitting accurate documentation for extension purposes. The accusations levied by MANWU against the Ministry are dismissed as baseless attempts to deflect from the reality of restarting the extension process, which may entail further delays.

The ministry asserts its commitment to operating within the confines of the law and has already initiated the process anew by submitting a Notice to the Ministry of Justice. It reassures stakeholders that there is no deliberate intention to delay applications and urges parties to communicate accurate information regarding the extension process to their members and stakeholders.

The Collective Agreement, once extended, will have implications for both parties and non-parties within the Construction Sector, as it sets minimum wages and other conditions of service. MLIREC clarifies that the extension process is governed by Section 71(2) of the Labour Act (Act No. 11 of 2007).


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