The Wages Commission, investigating all relevant industries to propose national minimum wages has thus far conducted public hearings with particular focus on its terms of reference in Windhoek.
Other areas visited are Aussenkehr and Keetmanshoop, in the //Kharas region and Gobabis in the Omaheke region.
Following the public hearings, the commission will make recommendations to labour minister Utoni Nujoma on proposed national minimum wages (NMWs).
According to a statement from chairperson of the Wages Commission, Marius Kudumo, attendance at the public hearings in the three regions has been satisfactory and the representations were generally good.
The broad terms of reference of the commission, “is to investigate all relevant industries, report, and make recommendations to the minister on proposed national minimum wages, which will apply to all employees, except to related categories of employees specifically exempted by the minister in a Wage Order, and on related supplementary minimum conditions of employment”.
Against this background, the purpose of the public hearings is to afford individuals, trade unions, employers, and employers’ organisations the opportunity to present oral and written representations concerning proposed NMWs for Namibia and related supplementary minimum conditions of employment, as required in the terms of reference of the commission.
In addition to literature review, the commission has also already engaged with various stakeholders and experts such as the Office of the Ombudsman, Namibia Statistics Agency, the National Planning Commission, the Labour Resource and Research Institute, Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, the Social Security Commission, Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, and the Namibia University of Science and Technology.
The objective was to obtain information and input regarding the NMWs in the context of fundamental human rights and State policy, socio-economic conditions in Namibia, government developmental plans, NMWs and the informal economy, social protection, investment and conditions of employment.
During its last public hearing held at Gobabis on 27 May 2021, individuals and trade union representatives highlighted the challenges faced by workers in emerging industries in the agricultural sector such as charcoal, non-compliance with existing wage agreements and the difficulty in balancing the setting of a minimum wage in the context of high unemployment and low economic growth.
In conclusion, the commission continues to urge stakeholders, particularly employers and employers’ organisations, to provide maximum support to the work of the commission both by making oral and written representations.
The proposed national minimum wages intend to improve the remuneration levels, particularly of lowly paid employees, improve individual and household incomes, contribute to poverty alleviation, and to a decent standard of living.
The commission also reminded individuals, trade unions, employers, and employers’ organisations, that the deadline for written representations concerning the NMWs and related supplementary terms and conditions of employment, as set out in the terms of reference of the commission, is not later than 30 June 2021.