The Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations, and Employment Creation, Utoni Nujoma, has urged for increased focus on the implementation of international labour standards and good practices in Namibia. Nujoma was speaking yesterday in Windhoek at a social dialogue on the future of work post-Covid-19.
As the keynote speaker at the conference, Nujoma said the dialogue should focus on protecting workers in the workplace through the strengthening of labour institutions such as labour inspections, collective bargaining and increasing labour productivity.
Stimulating the economy and employment, including by promoting sustainable enterprises in job-rich sectors with positive environmental and social externalities such as sustainable infrastructure and the care economy, were one of the focus areas Nujoma pointed out as set out in the International Labour Organisation’s Centenary Declaration.
He added that priority should be given to topics that are supporting enterprises, jobs and incomes through lifelong learning and active labour market policies and practices, backed by universal social protection with a solid protection floor, “relying on social dialogue for solutions, given its proven worth in shaping effective, balanced, and acceptable policy responses.”
Nujoma continued that with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in Namibia, his ministry seized upon tripartite social dialogue as the best means to fashion measures to minimise or mitigate the anticipated disastrous impact of the pandemic upon workers and their families and businesses.
The labour minister noted that in some quarters, these efforts were met with goodwill and a real desire to find common solutions.
According to him, some of the employers tried to do as much as they could to assist their workers while many of the workers were prepared to make sacrifices to help ensure the future of businesses.
However, social dialogue also provoked and unearthed fundamental differences that exist between and among social partners. It exposed the weaknesses and inequality of their relationships and fault lines in their interactions.
“In some instances, it unveiled corporate veils and laid them bare for everyone to see. I regret to say that some of the employers did not, and do not think that they have any responsivity for the wellbeing of their employees. However, I am optimistic that this is not the prevailing employer perspective,” noted Nujoma.
He continued that the Covid-19 pandemic pushed the future of work agenda and the fourth industrial revolution closer than they were planned for and projected originally. He stated that the whole world, including Namibia, now has, to varying degrees, adopted the digitalisation of work, working remotely or teleworking, hence bringing home and office or worksite environments together online.
The fourth industrial revolution demands a knowledgeable workforce driven by lifelong learning, amongst other imperatives, for both social development and economic growth.
“But the future of work post-Covid-19 is not the future of work that we talked about a year ago. The context has changed and new challenges have emerged. The social dialogue on the future of work cannot be limited to how to embrace the fourth industrial revolution,” said the minister.
Nujoma concluded that the future of work requires a different approach to business models and conditions of employment. He said it requires collaboration, interaction and social dialogue at all times for the good of all in society.
2020-10-29 07:41:55 | 1 months ago