• September 22nd, 2020

Nearly 6 000 out of jobs


For the past three months nearly 400 local companies have given notice of their intention to retrench a total of 5 748 workers, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt economies across the world. 
Labour minister Utoni Nujoma informed parliamentarians this week that the highest number of retrenchments came from Khomas region with 2 838, Erongo (1 309) and the //Kharas region with 991 employees. Other regions, he said, include Otjozondjupa with 165, Oshikoto (132), Kunene (86), Hardap (76), Kavango (75), Oshana (50), Zambezi (12), Ohangwena (six), Omusati (five) and Omaheke with three employees. 
“I have reason to believe that some employers have retrenched employees without reporting to the Labour Commissioner,” Nujoma said. 

But he said the ministry would take new initiatives to obtain more accurate data on retrenchments during the state of emergency, including issuing a public appeal for affected persons to report their loss of employment to them. 
The minister also said the Labour Commissioner has reported receiving 405 new complaints of unfair dismissal during the same period.  Nujoma said the ministry was committed to the principles of social dialogue and tripartite consultation as the means to solve problems in the areas of labour and employment. 

During the Covid-19 lockdown, he said, the ministry managed to facilitate the resolution of some major disputes in the mining and fishing sectors through social dialogue. “In recent weeks we have learned of successes by employers who have gone the extra mile to limit the negative impact of Covid-19 on their businesses through effective social dialogue and a mindset aimed at saving jobs,” he said. 
“Through effective social dialogue, even the retrenchment and wage statistics that I just reported can be significantly reduced. We will strive to strengthen Namibia’s adherence to these cardinal principles.”

SSC steps in 
Meanwhile, Nujoma said the Social Security Commission (SSC) has paid out N$22.1 million in wage subsidies to people that have suffered a loss of income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 
He said the institution received applications for wage or unemployment subsidy from 25 581 employees who earn under N$50 000 a year. These employees, he said, were receiving a payment equivalent to 50% of their monthly salaries for a three-month period between May and July, with a minimum payment of N$1 000. 

So far, Nujoma said, 5 483 of 6 300 applications from unemployed workers have been cleared for payment and a total of N$22.1 million has already been paid out. 
According to Nujoma, a total of 2 200 applications have been received by the SSC in its National Employment and Salary Protection Scheme, which ends this month, for cash injection for wage subsidies to avoid retrenchment and for SSC contribution waivers. This programme focuses on the hard-hit sectors of tourism, aviation and construction. – ktjitemisa@nepc.com.na


Kuzeeko Tjitemisa
2020-07-10 10:44:02 | 2 months ago

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