The Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA) workshop for shop stewards in Ongwediva was informed yesterday that black workers still find it extremely difficult to exercise their labour rights for their wellbeing.
Secretary General of Namibia Wholesale and Retail Workers Union ( NWRWU) and Namibia Building Workers Union (NBWU), Victor Hamunyela, said blacks were still fighting for labour rights 26 years after independence.
Hamunyela explained that the workshop was intended to feed people with information on economic and other aspects of labour issues and employment.
Some of the expectations of the trainees touched on unprotected strikes, disciplinary matters and grievances and labour relations procedures. “It is estimated that most teachers die after three years of resignation due to the stress of the environment they have been working under and nobody does anything about this. Every job has hazardous conditions. Therefore, it is up to us all to address such issues,” Hamunyela said.
Sylvia Mundjindi the Project Manager of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), the sole sponsor of the workshop said FES got a mandate from the German Labour Movement to implement labour related activities on a national, regional and international level.
“We are cooperating with TUCNA because we share the same core values, which respect and value workers’ rights, the promotion of social justice and democracy. From time to time, there is always a number of unlabour practices that are reported within the media,” Mundjindi continued.
Mundjindi further said employers who do not negotiate fairly with their employees not only jeopardise their companies but this hinders the performance of other industries, the country’s economy and general development.
Mundjindi emphasised that it is important for shop stewards as representatives of the workers to know their roles and responsibilities so that they are in a position to defend the interests and rights of workers, and arbitrate labour disputes.
Reginald Kock, the Acting Secretary General of TUCNA said there was a constant attack of workers and their rights, therefore such workshops were capacitating employees to address the exploitation and inequalities they faced to improve workers’ rights.
“Addressing workshops is part of the Harambee Prosperity Plan. TUCNA represents workers regardless of differences. Paternity and maternity issues, single mothers, homosexuals are issues we need to deal with. What benefits do they have as workers? We should plan how to address our issues to the government,” Kock said.