WINDHOEK, 10 APR – Local trade unions have called on President Hage Geingob to take a stance on the introduction of a national minimum wage during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Wednesday.
At a joint media conference held here on Monday by the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN), Public Service Union of Namibia, and the Namibia Nurses Union, TUN Secretary-General Mahongora Kavihuha said Namibia is a “working poor” nation, as salary earnings do not match living standards.
“The majority of public servants who are working see no improvements in their lives,” he said.
Kavihuha said Geingob must thus address the issue of a national minimum wage by looking at the performance of the economy, living standards and the price of commodities and then draw up a figure that every employer is required to pay their workers.
He stressed that the issue of inflation makes it difficult for people to afford basic necessities.
“Public servants need to get an increment that is above inflation, not below and not equal to inflation,” he said.
The unions also alleged that many security companies often apply the minimum wage for security guards as the maximum wage, using it as an excuse to pay employees pennies.
They also emphasised the importance of the president’s address on the state of workers in both the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) and Public Private Partnerships that are meant to promote balanced ownership of business in Namibia and create employment, generate revenue and transfer skills.
NEEEF is aimed at promoting equitable, inclusive and shared economic development, and to narrow income disparities between the rich and the poor. Under NEEEF, at least 25 per cent of all existing and new businesses must be owned by previously disadvantaged Namibians.