Construction workers will now receive a minimum wage of N$16.94 per hour following the promulgation of the Collective Agreement that determines the minimum wage
payable and employment conditions in the construction sector.
The agreement was signed by the Construction Industries Federation of Namibia (CIF) and the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (MANWU) on 16 November 2017 and was promulgated on 31 March 2018 as per Government Notice No. 65 published in Government Gazette No. 6567 of 11 April 2018.
The Collective Agreement came into effect on 31 March 2018, the date of promulgation.
“With the promulgation of the Collective Agreement, the agreed minimum wage payable and the minimum employment conditions is extended by the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Erkki Nghimtina, to the entire construction sector, irrespective of the size of business and of who owns the business,” CIF Consulting General Manager, Bärbel Kirchner, said in a statement.
She said an increase of 5,6 percent on minimum wage payable is only relevant for certain selected positions, as per the Collective Agreement.
“So, if an employer does not yet pay the minimum wage for selected positions, then they would need to increase the wage to ensure it reaches the minimum wage payable. If, however, the employer is already paying the minimum wage payable, then no further increase is required,” Kirchner said.
“Provided the employer pays the minimum wage payable, any additional increase is totally discretionary.”
According to Kirchner, the Collective Agreement between the CIF and MANWU was concluded after arduous negotiations which included the threat of industrial action.
She said the CIF had emphasised that the construction sector had been hit severely by the economic downturn, which has seen large-scale retrenchments in the entire supply chain since September 2016.
The CIF maintained that instead of increasing salaries of only a few remaining employees, there was need to make every effort to keep as many persons employed as possible.
“Sadly we have not seen any recovery in the construction sector since 2016. More businesses are being affected and more people are being retrenched. It is a dire situation for our industry, businesses simply have no scope to further continue increasing labour costs without the generation of any revenue,” she said.
Kirchner said the CIF is aware that an increase of minimum wage payable will result in more workers being retrenched if there are no immediate construction or building projects being advertised.
“Our industry needs work to survive. Our industry needs work to build our future,” she said.
The NAB urged producers to submit their entries through the representative of the National Association of Horticultural Produces. Entries close on 27 April 2018.