WINDHOEK – Namibia Farm Workers Union (Nafwu) general secretary Rocco Nguvauva yesterday reiterated his call for the agricultural sector to ensure farm workers are accorded their democratic right to freely participate in this month’s elections.
Nguvauva, who is known for fighting for the plight of farmworkers, also specifically called on the agricultural sector to give their workers a day off to vote in this month’s Presidential and National Assembly elections slated for 27 November.
Speaking to New Era, he said many a time during past elections he received reports from all corners of the country from farm workers complaining they were denied their right to vote by their employers.
“Make no mistake, this is a gamble of our democracy; no one has the right to deny anyone to practise their democratic right, voting is a democratic right. As the farm workers’ union leader I will deal with those employers denying workers their democratic right,” said the veteran union leader.
Nguvauva also bemoaned the exploitation of farm workers by employers, saying that 29 years after independence working conditions for farm workers continue to deteriorate.
“We are not against white or black farmers. Our biggest challenge is black or white monopoly capitalists,” he said.
“What we are saying is that farm workers should be treated just like any other workers in the country,” he added.
Furthermore, Nguvauva urged the government to reform the current wage agreement and implement a market and realistic minimum wage that would be mandatory throughout the sector.
He said while the average salary of a farm worker in South Africa is N$3 856 per month, in Namibia it is N$1 530 per month which does not match their living expenses.
“There is a need to revisit the current wages of farm workers,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to the report by the Agricultural Employers’ Association (AEA) bi-annual wage survey for 2017/2018, the average value of the basic salary of farm workers has increased.
Compared to the survey done in 2016, the latest average value of farm workers’ wages has increased by 8.3 percent
(N$2 138 per month).
A report by the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) says the monthly cash salary is on average N$1 530 and the value of rations N$608.
This is 53 percent higher than the minimum wage for farm workers, which is currently N$1 400.
According to the NAU, the average total remuneration package per farm worker, if the value of the free benefits is added, is
N$3 413 per month or N$17.50 per hour.
2019-11-12 07:18:58 | 27 days ago