Massive increase in labour complaints

Nearly N$2 mln paid out

10 May 2021 | Economics

The ministry of labour, industrial relations and employment creation in the 2020/21 financial year facilitated payments amounting to more than N$1.8 million on behalf of employees on due amounts owed to them by their respective employers.

The ministry said in a statement the payments emanated from 5 430 labour complaints lodged by affected employees, which is an increase of 966 labour complaints compared to the 2019/20 financial year.

It said 1 505 of the complaints were registered in the first quarter of last year, the same period when Namibia recorded its first positive cases of Covid-19.

“The number of labour complaints registered gradually decreased per quarter, with quarter four only registering 1 241 labour complaints,” said the ministry.

The central labour regions covering Rehoboth, Windhoek, Gobabis, Okahandja, Omaruru, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay recorded the highest complaints at 2 808, followed by the north-eastern labour regions covering Rundu, Nkurenkuru, Katima Mulilo, Grootfontein, Tsumeb and Otavi, where 943 complaints were recorded.

About 927 complaints were recorded in the southern labour regions which cover Keetmanshoop, Mariental, Karasburg, Noordorwer, Rosh Pinah, Oranjemund and Lüderitz. The northern labour regions covering Oshakati, Ondangwa, Eenhana and Outapi recorded 489 complaints and the north-western labour regions covering Outjo, Opuwo, Kamanjab, Otjiwarongo and Khorixas recorded 263 complaints.

BASIC CONDITIONS

Most of the complaints were lodged by employees whose basic conditions of employment as stipulated in the Labour Act were contravened by their respective employers, which include among others the non-payment of remuneration, unlawful deductions, unpaid overtime and severance payments.

The statement said despite the ministry having successfully resolved 77% of the registered labour complaints, it is still seized with a challenge of some employers who are untraceable by some employees as they changed their physical or contact addresses. This contributes to a number of labour complaints not being resolved.

“Unresolved labour complaints are referred as labour disputes to the Labour Commissioner for conciliation or arbitration, adding to labour cases that have been lodged directly with the Labour Commissioner,” the ministry said.

It urged employers and employees to solve labour issues amicably and source advice from the ministry to avoid labour disputes. - Nampa