10% pay hike for construction

09 December 2016 | Labour

The Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (Manwu) and the Construction Industries Federation (CIF) announced that there will be a 10% wage increment for the construction industry effective 31 December 2016.

The agreement to increase the minimum wage was initially between Manwu and CIF and was extended and gazetted by the Ministry of Labour and Social welfare to all employers and employees in the construction industry in accordance with the 2007 labour law.

Speaking to the media Manwu secretary-general Justine Jonas informed employers and employees in the construction industry to make sure that the new minimum wage agreement must be implemented. “After 31 December 2016 no labourer in Namibia must be remunerated less than N$16.04 per hour,” said Jonas. The current minimum wage for basic labourers is N$14.59 per hour.

She asked all employers in the construction industry to obey the new wage increment. “We are calling on all Chinese companies and small medium enterprises to comply with these changes with immediate effect as we identified them as the main culprits of non-compliance of the minimum wage,” said Jonas.

Jonas said Manwu was worried about the retrenchments taking place at different companies especially involving companies working with government projects. “Many of these retrenchments are linked to non-payment by the client (government). We are hearing that government does not have money, but as a union we were never informed,” said Jonas. She revealed that when Manwu requests for information or to meet with government it takes months for them to get a response. “We hereby call upon the government to settle its accounts with the companies in the construction industry so that we save many jobs,” said Jonas. More than 1 000 workers have been retrenched this year.

Jonas said that the construction industry was under threat because tenders were being awarded to foreign nationals. “Big tenders are awarded to foreign companies instead of local companies who are investing in the local economy.”

She said that some foreign companies do not comply with local labour laws and that workers in Namibia are exposed to “precarious” working conditions. Jonas called on the government to give more tenders to local companies. “We are complaining that we have no money while money is being given to foreign companies who are not ploughing it back into the country, and many of these foreign companies are even anti-union,” said Jonas.

Shona Ngava

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