- Breaking news: A severe drought countrywide has prompted President Pohamba to declare a state of emergency.
Labour Amendment Act ‘cause for concern’
The Labour Amendment Act has been promulgated on April 12 and will come into force on August 1.
This has caused concern in agricultural circles. The Agricultural Employers’ Association (AEA) and other employers’ organisations therefore held a public meeting on July 10 which was initiated by the NEF (Namibia Employers Federation) where a panel of experts listened to complaints and comments.
In short, the Act stipulates that an individual who works or renders service to a person who supplies work will be regarded as a permanent worker despite this individual’s service contract or the type of work done by the individual.
The Act also determines that any employee is permanently employed unless the employer can give a good reason why he has employed the employee on a temporary basis. For the agricultural employers the biggest concern is that this legislation will contribute to further unemployment in rural areas.
Farmers will think twice before employing new employees and will rather use their existing work force to do tasks which were previously done by temporary employees.
At the meeting discussions were held about the way the legislation was promulgated, the date on which it comes into force and the impact this legislation will have on future employment creation. Numerous employers from the different sectors attended the meeting as well as a team of experts, who, inter alia, comprised of Adv Vicky Toivo ya Toivo, the legal advisor of the Minister of Labour, and Adv Pieter de Beer who gave his opinion from a legal point of view. The representative from the Ohlthaver & List group of companies, Dickie Mukuahima, spoke about the practical challenges of the amendments.
Derek Wright represented the agricultural sector and gave his opinion on behalf of the NEF and agricultural employers. Frans Holzkampf, chairperson of the Charcoal Producers Association gave inputs on behalf of this industry.
Following the meeting a pilot committee consisting of eight members was appointed by the employers.
Derek Wright was elected to represent the agricultural sector on the pilot committee. The aim of the committee is to consult with the Minister of Labour about the legislation and to request him to postpone the implementation date. The possibility to request the re-writing of certain parts in the legislation is also not excluded. Feedback from the pilot committee is now awaited.