20 November 2012

Namibia: Booklet On How to Mitigate Strikes

Windhoek — The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, last week on Thursday launched a pocket guide on Namibia's Labour Act that aims to address and hopefully reduce labour conflict in the country.

The booklet was produced by government, workers and employers and provides an overview of some key sections of the Labour Act (2007) that affects employers and employees most directly.

"This booklet is an important guide for our lives going forward and our labour relations. At the end of the day this is the road to follow," explained Ngatjizeko during the launch at the ministry's offices.

Speaking on behalf of employers, the Chairperson of the Namibia Employers' Federation (NEF), Elize Fahl, said: "We as employers are concerned about the current labour unrest in the country and we hope that this booklet will assist in reducing labour conflict in future. It cannot solve the problem but it might just help. If everyone understands the Labour Act better perhaps there will be less conflict."

Fahl continued that if everyone is reasonable and fair in wage negotiations then disputes would be far less than what is currently being experienced in the country.

Commenting from the perspective of the unions, the Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA), Mahongora Kavihuha, noted: "Strikes, legal or illegal, should be of major concern to us. If we talk to each other then a culture of trust will be strengthened. This booklet has come at just the right time."

The booklet was authored by labour expert, Herbert Jauch, and labour consultant, Dr Johan van Rooyen, and was financed by the International Labour Organisation's office in Pretoria, South Africa.

Furthermore, the German development agency, GIZ, financed translations into Afrikaans, Oshiwambo and Herero, as well as the printing of 10 000 booklets in each of these languages.

"It is well known that industrial unrest can be a serious impediment to both social partners and to investment in the country. I therefore urge all tripartite partners, especially workers and employers, to use the advantage of this booklet's user friendliness and to engage in serious bipartite dialogue for the best interest and benefit of their constituencies and the entire nation," said Ngatjizeko.

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