Retrenchment ban: Bosses backtrack on court battle

30 April 2020 | Labour



The Namibia Employer's Federation (NEF) has parked its plan to drag government to court over regulations that include a ban on retrenchments until at least 28 days after the national coronavirus lockdown ends.

While making a U-turn on its High Court threat, the federation said yesterday it will now take alternative courses of action to mitigate the current situation.

However, the legal route is not off the table, it said.

“The NEF is deeply disappointed by some actions and comments on the side of government and trade unions. The NEF however remains open and willing to engage in further tripartite discussions and expresses the wish to continue to do so, irrespective of the outcomes of any actions being taken during the state of emergency in Namibia,” federation secretary-general Daan Strauss said.

Not threatened

Labour ministry executive director Bro-Mathew Shinguadja said government does not react to threats.

According to him, this objection has exposed the inhumanness of employers who want to dismiss workers who cannot go to work because of the lockdown.

“In all fairness, can an employee be served with a notice if they are under lockdown and not able to be at work? It looks like employers do not really care about their employees,” he said.

Shinguadja added that employers are undermining workers' rights as they will not be able to protest during the lockdown.

“Will it be okay if the state recalls employers' trade licenses because of the state of emergency? Then they will be the first to go to court,” he said.

Regulations also prohibit employers from forcing staff to take unpaid leave or annual leave during the lockdown.


Trade Union Congress of Namibia (Tucna) president Mahongora Kavihuha said during a tripartite meeting, these directives were agreed upon.

According to him, these regulations are now undoing the retrenchments, forced leave and the reduction of salaries.

“It is hypocritical and childish for them to go against these directives. The NEF, the one driving this objective, by nature is formed by labour consultants who wrongly advised their businesses and clients to unilaterally dismiss workers and force them to go on unpaid and annual leave,” he said.

Kavihuha emphasised the purpose of these regulations is to stop the inhumane actions of employers.

He added the regulations are not prohibiting employers from retrenching their workers, if necessary, but promotes social dialogue between trade unions, affected employees and employers.

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