The calls for the implementation of a minimum wage for petrol station cashiers and attendants could become a thing of the past after the labour commissioner recognized the Association of Service Station Owners (ASSO) that bargains on behalf of employers.
In essence this recognition now paves the way for ASSO to negotiate with the Namibia Fuel and Allied Workers Unions (Nafawu), which is the union that represents fuel station workers.
The previous non-recognition of ASSO by the labour commissioner was seen as a stumbling block to ASSO engaging Nafawu in wage negotiations.
The battle for a minimum wage for fuel station workers has been dragging since last year, and this according to David Frans who still insists he is the secretary general of the Namibia Security Guard and Watchmen Union (Nasgwu) despite his rivals saying they replaced him after they ousted him in April.
Frans said negotiations to have ASSO recognized were very intense and protracted.
Frans informed New Era this week that over the past weekend he held a meeting where he informed union members of this achievement.
“The congress was to inform executive members that ASSO has now been registered and recognized by the labour commissioner as the body that can discuss the wage and working conditions of workers on behalf of employers. The agreed minimum wage amount is N$7.20 per hour translating to a monthly basic salary of N$1 400, while over time is N$10.80 per hour and double on public holidays and Sundays,” said Frans who maintains he is still the secretary general of Nasgwu.
“Before this minimum wage, fuel and cashier attendants used to be paid on a commission basis depending on how many cars the station fuels in a day. At some service stations they would get commission of as low as 50 cents per vehicle with no basic salary,” stressed Frans.
According to documents seen by New Era the minimum wage was supposed to be in force as of January 1, 2015 until Junuary 1, 2017 for review. Although it has been six months before its enforcement, Frans says the delays were on the part of the labour commissioner who dragged his feet to register ASSO.
“Am glad now things have fallen into order, the only thing remaining is to distribute the gazette to all parts of the country so that all employers and employees can be aware of the minimum wage that is now in effect,” said Frans.
The minimum wage battle last year led to over 400 fuel station workers from Windhoek, Okahandja, Oshakati and Ondangwa losing their jobs because of what was deemed as an illegal strike by the labour commissioner.