President Hage Geingob has rescheduled a nationwide clean-up campaign that was set to take place on Workers Day after protest from the International Trade Union Confederation (ICTU).
The Windhoek Observer reported last week that the confederation, which represents trade unions worldwide, had written to Geingob bemoaning his decision to turn Workers Day into a national clean-up day.
“May Day celebrations are internationally recognised as the cornerstone of democratic societies and they represent the achievements of generations of working people struggling for their rights.
“Changing the scope of May Day represents an attack against the legitimate activities of trade unions in Namibia and is a blow for the whole trade union movement around the world, and we strongly denounce it,” ITUC General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, wrote to Geingob. The president announced on Wednesday in a letter to Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa and the Secretary General of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), that he had had a change of heart after reservations by the workers union.
“Following my consultation with the National Union of Namibian Workers on March 12, 2018, I announced that a National Clean-up Campaign will take place on May 1, 2018. The unions, upon receiving advice from the International Trade Union Confederation, acquiesced to their views and have therefore reneged from that day. I, on behalf of the Government, have now rescheduled the event for May 25, 2018 - Africa Day,” Geingob said.
A statement from State House on Thursday said, in agreeing to move the cleaning campaign to Africa Day, the president noted that the labour movement played a central role in the liberation struggle, with the call for freedom, informed by the imperative to achieve a living wage and better living conditions for Namibian workers.
“Furthermore, the support of workers was instrumental in bringing about change. The president does not wish to create the impression that he would want to detract attention from the singular significance of May Day in the calendar.
“It is with these in mind that the President directed that the National Clean-up Campaign be rescheduled to 25 May 2018.”