The labour commissioner is set to commence with much-awaited public hearings next week Tuesday in the Khomas region. The hearings are but one of the methods of work and procedures the commission will utilise in conducting their minimum wage investigations.
According to Marius Kudumo, Chairman of the Wages Commission, they have been tasked with a broad term of reference to investigate all relevant industries and then to report and make recommendations to the labour minister on a proposed national minimum wage for the country.
The commission has been given a deadline to complete the enquiry by 31 August 2021, after which the report on the enquiry should be submitted to the minister no later than 30 September 2021.
The commission was inaugurated on 18 February 2021, by the labour minister, Utoni Nujoma. The information collection will consist of written representations, oral presentations at public gatherings, expert inputs as well as literature review.
Kudumo further indicated the commission will also visit a number of towns such as Gobabis, Keetmanshoop, Aussenkehr, Otjiwarongo, Opuwo, Oshakati, Eenhana, Rundu, Katima Mulilo, and Swakopmund on dates to be communicated at a later stage.
Yesterday, Kudumo said the recommendations of the wage 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.
“The convening of the wages commission comes at a time when the country is faced with multitudes of challenges in labour and employment across all sectors of the economy and society, including the impact of Covid-19 on livelihoods,” noted the chairman.
He continued that the wages commission should be understood within broader state goals and objectives of contributing to poverty alleviation, reducing income inequality and improving individual and household incomes while contributing to a decent standard of living.
Kudumo stated that the commission might also make any other recommendations in respect of the national minimum wage that it considers to be appropriate. In conducting investigations, it must consider the needs of workers and their families, the cost of living in Namibia or any part of it as well as the minimum subsistence level in an area.
The chairman noted that a major consideration in the investigation will be the ability of employers to carry on their businesses if required to pay the recommended national minimum wage. He concluded that the commission will attempt to answer questions such as “should provision be made for an automatic annual cost of living increases or other automatic adjustments of minimum wages and conditions, and what measures would be most effective to enforce the national minimum wage.