Relief over Wage Ageement

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Workers in the construction industry can now breathe a sigh of relief since the Construction Industries Federation of Namibia (CIF) and the Metal and Allied Building Workers Union (MABWU) recently signed a revised minimum wage agreement. The latest agreement that was reached last week includes the service allowance for employees, and CIF also released the set of wages for the different ranges of job descriptions in the construction industry. In the latest media release, CIF said that the new minimum wages are not to be paid to CIF members only, but to all employees in the construction sector with the exception of labour-based projects. “All parties are urged to abide by the new legislation and to promote harmonious working relationships between employers and employees,” said Ricki Wilson, secretary of the CIF. The new rates will be applicable as from October 1, 2006 to March next year and will soon be gazetted. Looking at the breakdown of the wages, the rates start at N$8,00 per hour for a labourer. A semi-skilled painter will earn N$9,16 per hour, while an artisan painter will receive N$12,80 per hour. Furthermore, the document reads that a semi-skilled plumber will earn N$10,64 per hour, while a skilled plumber will receive N$16,15 at the end of the month. As for bricklayers and plasterers their minimum wage falls on N$10,53 for semi-skilled workers, while the skilled ones receive N$16,15 per hour. Moving onto electricians, the rate stands at N$11,54 and N$16,87 respectively for semi-skilled and skilled categories; carpenters N$11,78 and N$17,77 and joiners N$12,21 and N$18,96. The list goes on to read that Artisans such as a master craftsman, including coded welders, will get N$21,17, leading hand plumbers N$12,95, leading hand steel fixers and leading hand welders N$23,51. The agreement also states that construction drivers, or dumpers as they are called, are provided N$8,02, construction drivers of light vehicles with drivers code B or BE N$11,36, while drivers of heavy and extra-heavy vehicles will earn N$13,46 and 13,94 respectively. All these rates are once again rated per hour and into categories of semi-skilled and skilled. Furthermore, employees will be entitled to a service allowance equal to 120 hours of their wages to be paid as part of the December remuneration. “This allowance will be calculated pro rata to the portion of the year that the employee was in service during that specific year,” reads the press statement from Wilson. However, in case of fair dismissal an employee will not be entitled to any portion of the service allowance. It was further agreed between the two parties that all workers whose minimum wages have been prescribed in the Agreement can apply for membership to the Namibia Building Workers Pension Fund. The Labour Commissioner’s Office was instrumental in assisting in the recently signed agreement between CIF and MABWU.

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