Strauss opposes proposed N$20 minimum wage

14 September 2021 | Labour

NAMPA

WINDHOEK

Namibian Employers Federation secretary-general Daan Strauss says a N$20 per hour minimum wage, as proposed by some unions, may force some businesses to shut down.

Strauss made the remark at a public hearing organised by the Wages Commission to discuss the introduction of a national minimum wage.

National Union of Namibian Workers consultant Kola Omomowo said if the government wants to address poverty and inequality, then it should compel every employer to pay workers N$20 per hour for normal working hours, which should exclude weekends and public holidays.

He said the implementation of a national minimum wage was imperative in order to comply with the constitution.

Economic realities

However, Strauss warned that if the government wants to implement a specific minimum wage, then every aspect should be considered because some companies have been struggling to pay salaries since the 2016 economic recession, which was made worse by the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020.

“It is good to remunerate people for what they do, but it will not make sense paying good salaries for few months and then close down because you can’t pay anymore.

“For instance, we have security companies that are already struggling to pay N$12 per hour, then you force them to pay N$20 per hour. For how long do you think they will survive? They will close down, it will collapse businesses,” said Strauss.

He suggested the government should rather make it easier for investors by reducing some regulations and laws that are discouraging them from investing in the country.

The only answer to economic development is new investment, new business and as a result, new job opportunities with decent remuneration will emerge, he said.

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