21 September 2017

Namibia: New Minimum Wage for Guards Extended to Entire Industry

Photo: New Era
Security guards (file photo).

Windhoek — The collective agreement stipulating a minimum wage for security guards of N$8.75 per hour, entered into between the Security Association of Namibia (SAN) and affiliated employers in January, has been extended to all employees and employers in the security industry.

This means that the new N$8.75 hourly rate and N$10 per hour for security guards working at their current employer for at least a year, is applicable across the entire security industry, regardless whether the companies signed the agreement or not.

In addition, any security company not complying with the new law will be ineligible to provide security services to the State (at all levels), as well as any government agencies and parastatals as it is part and parcel of the Public Procurement System.

"This collective agreement is now binding on all security companies and security officers operating within the borders of the Republic of Namibia and no longer to SAN members only... While announcing this new development in this industry, the ministry would like to reiterate that all employers have a duty to be aware of and comply with all the national labour laws, including this collective agreement.

"Therefore, a full implementation of this collective agreement without any delays is the way forward to avoid labour disputes and ensure a sound labour relations and decent work," said Ministry of Labour, Industrialisation and Employment Creation permanent secretary Bro-Matthew Shinguadja.

He added that the ministry was concerned about various complaints from security officers regarding issues such as underpayment, delayed payment of monthly wages, prolonged working hours without overtime pay and leave days.

These are some of the basic conditions of employment to which all employees are entitled and the ministry expects all responsible employers to voluntarily comply with the basic conditions and other provisions of the law without compromise, Shinguadja said in a statement.

SAN, the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union, the Namibia Independent Security Union and Namibia Security Guard and Watchmen's Union entered into the collective agreement in December 2016 to increase the minimum wages for all security officers employed by SAN members.

However, at the time of signing the agreement, it was only applicable to SAN members until such time it was extended to the entire industry by a lawful directive published in the Government Gazette.

"Our members have had to pay the increased minimum wage as of January this year, while non-affiliated companies still pay their employees the old wage," lamented SAN president Dries Kannemeyer at the time. He noted that security firms in the country still had until the end of June to object to the new minimum wage, after which he expected the new wage law to be extended to the rest of the industry. SAN claimed that to avoid the new wage structure some companies had opted to de-register from SAN to avoid paying the increased wages to their guards.

"Employers have a right of freedom of association with the representatives of their choices. The issue of companies 'de-registering' will not have any effect to the new collective agreement once it's extended, as it will be applicable to the whole industry," said Maria Hedimbi, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Labour.


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