Namibia’s working class, due to its size and strategic place in the production of goods and services, deserves more protection and stimulants to maintain its very existence.
This class, which consists of those who subsist through the sale of their labour and by extension their dependants, carries the nation on its shoulders and must thus realise its true power and necessity.
This class is the pillar and axis on which the entire nation rests. If the burden of greed and exploitation becomes too heavy, its backbone will break and the entire nation will fall like a rock.
And while this is true, this class remains the most exploited. This is more than just a Namibian problem. It’s a global headache.
The class is often overworked, bears the brunt of perpetual inflationary increments on basic goods and services, owes the most debts to banks and the taxman, and cannot afford housing and decent health care.
When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, it drags down the entire economy from top to bottom.
The working class sustains livelihoods by providing for the families, and thus saves government from that duty, and is at the centre of the buying power of the entire nation.
From beer to snacks, no other class spends more on consumables and services than the working class.
When the rich and wealthy go to Dubai and the Bahamas for holidays, members of the working class – those with relative means – would go to Swakopmund or Etosha for leisure. Their money is spent locally, thus making the Namibian economy tick.
But what exactly are we doing to protect and sustain this class?
Exploitation remains rife in our country, as well as unfair labour practices. Company closures and retrenchments have become the new norm, as has been widely reported by local newspapers.
The labour movement is in disarray. Its leaders, if not fighting each other, are colluding for parochial political gains such as positions in Cabinet or shares in the very companies exploiting the workers.
Workers as a collective must start having a stronger say and input on the national agenda.
This can never be achieved with a disintegrated labour movement that is happier to dance to the tunes of industry, its capitalist barons and the political elite.
If the workers have little or no say in setting the national agenda, the exploitative capitalist class would squeeze what is left of the life of our people – and that’s when the nation would collapse.
Workers must be more organised and only then would they be able to push back the advances of neoliberal, parasitic profit-centric capitalism.
They must be protected by ensuring that their plight and rights are jealously guarded from a legislative and enforcement vintage. They cannot continue to scramble for crumbs from the dinner tables of those mercilessly exploiting our resources as though Namibia belongs to them alone.