Workers’ struggle continues… leaders call for fair employment practices

Home National Workers’ struggle continues… leaders call for fair employment practices
Workers’ struggle continues… leaders call for fair employment practices

SWAKOPMUND – Namibian labour conditions still have a long way to go as not all workers are enjoying good employment relations, health and safety at their workplaces, constructive social dialogue, and the decent employment they deserve. 

These were the key messages that were highlighted during the Workers’ Day commemoration held in Swakopmund by the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) and affiliated unions.

The day was observed both in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay by reflecting on the challenges facing Namibian workers, as well as the changing political and economic landscapes that are impacting workers.

In addition, the high unemployment rate among the youth was pointed out as a challenge which needs to be tackled at all costs.

This year’s commemoration was held under the theme ‘Workers United in Ensuring Productivity for National Economic Growth and Guarding Against Unfair Labour Practices in the World of Work’.

Speaking in Swakopmund, deputy minister of labour Hafeni Ndemula, who was delivering the speech on behalf of minister Utoni Nujoma, said despite Namibia’s sound labour laws, there are still employers who opt to operate without following the statutory labour standards to disadvantage their employees.

“It remains a travesty that some employers do not pay their employees the minimum wages set for their respective sectors. Many workers are being paid low wages, wages that cannot provide for a decent standard of living. I have also noted with great concern that not all employers ensure and provide a safe and healthy working environment for their workers,” he noted with concern. 


NUNW president Evans Maswahu said one cannot ignore the challenges workers continue to face in the country and around the world. 

He said despite progress, many workers are still struggling to make ends meet, and to secure their basic rights and protections at their workplaces.

“The domestic workers, cleaners, petrol attendants, bricklayers, fishermen and civil servants are the movers and shakers of the very existence of this country and its economy,” he observed. 

Therefore, certain areas need to be addressed to improve the working conditions of Namibian workers.

For instance, he said, amendments to existing laws should be made to ensure that deductions from workers’ salaries are affordable, and do not leave them in a bad financial situation. 

“We must also remember the history of the labour movement, which has been characterised by struggle, sacrifice and solidarity. Today, we see many challenges in the labour movement. We see labour unrest and strikes happening all around us. Workers are demanding better wages, working conditions, and greater protection against exploitation. We see employers who continue to resist the efforts of unions to organise and bargain on behalf of the workers,” Maswahu said.

Meanwhile, President Hage Geingob said in his message to Namibian workers that the fight for freedom in Namibia has its origins in the demands of workers for fair labour practices and better working conditions for the black majority. 


He said Workers’ Day was during the liberation struggle an occasion for the oppressed workers of Namibia to unite and sharpen their resolve to accelerate the fight against the apartheid regime, and to break the chains of oppression. 

“As a nation that was birthed out of a history of sacrifices and workers’ struggles, Namibia values the role of workers in the fight for liberty, unity and justice. Workers are a precious resource in the history and development of the country and nation. Therefore, Namibia pays tribute to the crucial role that workers play in advancing socio-economic development and shared prosperity for the Namibian people,” Geingob stated.

He thus urged all stakeholders to deliver on their mandate of upholding and protecting workers’ rights and interests by promoting sound labour relations and fair employment practices.  

In the same vein, he asked stakeholders to engage in good faith in collective bargaining to mitigate the impact of the economic downturn on workers, and to at all times resolve labour disputes in a spirit that advances the interests of the Republic of Namibia.