April 4, 2007

Workers Union condemns wave of retrenchments

The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) has described the current wave of retrenchments in the country as contemptuous and unfair. Secretary-general of the NUNW, Evilastus Kaaronda, said retrenchments did not only affect the unions' bargaining strength but increased the economic exclusion of those adversely affected workers and their families.
He emphasised that that process further increased poverty as it mostly resulted in unemployment. He noted that retrenchments also significantly cut on the workers' buying power by heavily reducing the wages and benefits of the workers as they enter new employment contracts under the most extreme exploitative conditions by labour hire companies.
Citing an example, Kaaronda said workers at the CIC who will be taken up by a labour hire company would have their salaries reduced by 34 per cent without any significant benefits. "The huge and adverse economic repercussions that these ongoing restructuring and re-organisations have on the majority of our people especially the so-called blue-collar workers are fast becoming unacceptable."
The secretary-general also took a swipe at the Minister of Trade and Industry Immanuel Ngatjizeko and said the minister was very insensitive when stating that the workers are sabotaging the economy by chasing away investors through labour unrest. Kaaronda also revealed that the NUNW met the ruling party, Swapo to discuss the issue of labour hire. He charged that Swapo Party did not allow labour hire and questioned why the Government is helping labour hire companies. He called on the Government to intervene as the labour hire system was exploiting poor citizens, noting that labour hire and retrenchment made economic sense for business but exploited the workers and was not good for economic development.
Comparing the labour hire system to the labour contract hire that was practiced before independence, Kaaronda said if the workers fought against and uprooted colonialism, why should the Government regulate this new kind of colonialism. He claimed that the workers have a plan in place to face the problem head-on and will go into dialogue with Government and the employer's federation to seek a permanent remedy. (New Era, Windhoek)

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