Utoni wants better labour relations

23 November 2021 | Labour

JEMIMA BEUKES



WINDHOEK

Labour minister Utoni Nujoma yesterday said Labour Commissioner Henri Kassen needs to do much more to ensure that ordinary workers understand what will take place at conciliation, and what is expected of them.

He added that there is need for stakeholders to work towards speedily eliminating delays of arbitration processes as well as improving other labour services.

“‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’ Delays during the dispute resolution process is the biggest challenge confronting the system. This affects both employees and employers. Unresolved workplace problems that are allowed to fester will affect not only the well-being of a complainant seeking justice, but also workplace relations, company finances and productivity,” Utoni said.

The minister made these remarks at the opening of a stakeholders meeting at the office of the Labour Commissioner.

He said since the inception of the arbitration and mediation system a decade ago, much has been done to improve labour relations.

He also encouraged registered trade unions and employer organisations to inform their members that, just like court judgements, arbitrators' awards are based upon findings of facts and the dictates of law.

Therefore, if a party is not happy with the outcome, there is a right to apply to the Labour Court. Utoni added that the system allows no room for political interference in these processes, hence the right to take the arbitrator on appeal or review.

Private lawyers to blame

“The participation of private legal practitioners and consultants in conciliation and arbitration proceeding is a major reason for delay,” the minister said.

“While the arbitration process is supposed to be straight-forward, speedy and cost-effective, the increasing involvement of legal practitioners and consultants has resulted in protracted technical point-taking, recurrent requests for litigation and misunderstanding by complainants. “They must expand considerable representation in order to achieve justice before the arbitration tribunals,” he said.

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