By Mathias Haufiku
WINDHOEK – Swapo parliamentarian Eliphas Dingara has proposed that a salary commission be established to ascertain the salaries of workers in the private and public sectors.
Speaking in the National Assembly on Tuesday when MPs discussed the new minimum wage for domestic workers that was set at N$1 218 per month, Dingara said the commission would ensure all workers are paid accordingly and fairly.
“I propose that a salary commission be established to control salaries of all institutions in the country. The salary commission will investigate all salaries and all institutions that pay workers,” he said.
“When a company wants to increase wages or salaries of their employees, the salary commission will first be asked to determine and investigate the facts on the ground to determine the best salary so that it cannot overlap with other salaries,” further suggested the Swapo MP. Workers in several sectors of the country have over the years lamented their low salaries, with claims including that most salaries are not commensurate with the amount of work done.
In other countries, salary commissions revise salaries of public and private sector employees.
According to the 2013 Labour Force Survey Report, at national level the mean wage is N$6 802 per month.
“It is higher for males (N$7 315 per month) than females (N$6 125 per month). Across industries the highest mean (N$18 139 per month) is found in the transport and communication sector, while the lowest is found in the private household sector where the mean is (N$939 per month),” stated the report.
The report also said domestic workers earn lower wages than other employees and their wages are way below that of other employees.
Labour Commissioner Bro-Matthew Shinguadja said the decision on how much employees should be paid should be left with their employers – provided the minimum wage is adhered to.
“You do not want to create a situation where it seems as if the state is controlling the market. For now I do not see a fundamental difference between the minimum wage and the proposed salary commission,” said Shinguadja.
“The MP must expand and tell us how the commission will operate and at the same time tell us what the commission will take into account when determining salaries,” said Shinguadja.
“Shareholders understand their operations better and based on that they can decide on the salaries of their employees,” he said.
He feels the domestic workers’ minimum wage was decided after a thorough study was carried out to determine what people need in order to survive, taking into consideration factors such as transport, food, clothing and shelter.