The Namibia Wholesale and Retail Workers Union (NWRWU) has pleaded with retail shop owners to desist from interfering in wage negotiations by imposing increments before negotiations are finalised.
The secretary general of NWRWU, Victor Hamunyela, says there is a tendency among some retailers to tempt union negotiators to abandon their demands, promising them hefty wage increments should they cross the floor to the side of the retailers.
He claimed that while talks are ongoing, employers sometimes propose under-the-table wage increases to worker representatives bargaining on behalf of unionised workers.
Similarly, employees often settle for a lower wage than what they actually advocated for, he observed. Such tendencies are being widely observed in retail shops owned by businesspeople from other countries that operate locally, he said.
“Some employers have developed a trend whereby they impose what they want to give and while negotiations are in process they release such percentage to the employees (to the non-members) leaving the rest to panic and eventually terminate their membership,” Hamunyela explained.
He says such practises undermine the right to freedom of association and called on the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment to take a stand to prevent the over-exploitation of Namibian workers.
He said unions are often only alerted to the problem when they see a stream of union members terminating their membership.
He says the political empowerment of workers is needed to ensure greater employee satisfaction and to maintain a sound working environment.
“Some of these things affect production in the workplace, which every employer is aiming at. How can there be production if the employers are doing things that put the relationship between the union and employer in a sour state?” Hamunyela asked.
He said the union has dealt with several such cases since last year.