Windhoek-The collective agreement entered into between the Security Association of Namibia (SAN) and affiliated employers, which stipulates a minimum wage for security guards of N$8.75 per hour as of January 1, is only applicable to members of the association until such time it is extended to the entire industry, as per a notice in the Government Gazette.
However, according to SAN this arrangement disadvantages its members, because non-SAN members still pay their guards the old wage of N$7 per hour.
“Our members have had to pay the increased minimum wage as of January this year, while non-affiliated companies still pay their employees the old wage,” lamented SAN president Dries Kannemeyer.
He further noted that security firms in the country still have until the end of this June to object to the new minimum wage, after which he expects the new wage law to be extended to the rest of the industry.
SAN officials also say many companies have opted to de-register from the association to avoid paying the increased minimum wage to their guards.
“Employers have a right of freedom of association with the representatives of their choices. The issue of companies de-registering will not have any effect on the new collective agreement once it’s extended, as it will be applicable to the whole industry,” said Ministry of Labour spokesperson Maria Hedimbi.
Hedimbi, however, pointed out that the ministry undertakes regular and targeted inspections of all the different sectors of the economy every year.
“These inspections allow the ministry to establish whether the employers and employees are complying with the labour laws, including collective agreements in different sectors/industries. Of course, the ministry will embark on the inspections in the security industry to determine the compliance level of this agreement, as well as any other areas of the law that is expected to be complied with,” she said.
Kannemeyer also said SAN will monitor the entire security industry closely to determine if all companies adhere to new minimum wage. “We will keep a close eye on the entire industry and will report any transgressions to the ministry,” he said.
From the ministry’s side Hedimbi added that the public would be informed through various media once the collective agreement is extended countrywide to the sector as a whole.
“The employers are expected to comply instantly – without any compromise,” she said.
“This ministry would like to appeal to all employers, especially those who make it a norm to be the last to enforce laws, especially when they are detected during inspections, or reported to the authority by their employees, to please adhere to the laws as soon as they are implemented in their industries.
“Adhering to the provision of the labour laws is an indication that the employers value their employees, as it helps to strengthen and maintain relations with their employees,” Hedimbi concluded.