The national education coordinator of the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau), Lister Tawana, has promised to fight for a minimum wage for retail workers if he is elected general secretary of the union.
The union is set to hold an elective congress at Keetmanshoop on Thursday that will see a new president, deputy president, national secretary, deputy national secretary, treasurer, deputy treasurer, general secretary and deputy general secretary positions up for grabs to serve office over the next four years. This year’s elective congress will be held under the theme ‘Equal Distribution of Wealth and Minimum Wage Determination’.
In an interview with New Era yesterday Tawana said if elected into office his main goal would be to oversee the introduction of a minimum wage in this sector. “You won’t believe that after 25 years we still do not have a minimum wage in this sector, but this will be my first priority of elected,” he said. “I will come up with policies that will see the introduction of minimum wage in the sector,” he insisted.
He added that it is very important that workers are taken care of, as they are the backbone of the country’s economy. Tawana also promised to improve retail workers’ working conditions, saying the first thing he will address is the issue of temporary workers, which he said is an issue not included in many recognition agreements. “What I will do is to amend all recognition agreements so that temporary workers are included,” he said.
He said currently temporary workers work for up to five or six years at a company without benefits of protection and he will fight for a law to prevent that from happening. “I will make sure that temporary workers are part and parcel of the recognition agreement,” he stressed.
He used the opportunity to raise concern over the prospects of marine phosphate mining along the coast, saying it could destroy the valuable marine life. He said as a trade unionist he is against the idea and feels it is being rushed through without a proper study to look at the pros and cons of marine mining.
Nafau is affiliated to the National Union of Namibian Workers and has an estimated membership of 15 000. Nafau’s organisational strongholds include the fishing industries around Walvis Bay and Lüderitz. The union was founded on 20 September 1986.