By Confidente Reporter
AS the country’s economy continues to struggle due to various factors, hundreds of Namibians are being retrenched at alarming levels with the latest labour report revealing how at least 1 252 employees were retrenched within 90 days by 76 companies countrywide.
The high numbers of retrenchments are mostly due to companies either closing down and or downsizing which is increasing the country’s unemployment rate.
Shocking statistics contained in the latest quarterly report compiled by the Office of the Labour Commissioner, that looked at the period between October 1 2015 and December 31 2015 reveals how five companies within the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry retrenched 242 workers within three months followed by 13 businesses within the wholesale and retail trade sector that retrenched 187 workers while 159 workers were sent packing in the public administration, defence, compulsory social security by a single company.
The construction industry also saw eight companies retrenching 136 workers while the mining and quarrying sector saw 105 rendered jobless. The accommodation and food services sector recorded six businesses retrenching 80 employees.
The education sector had 59 retrenchments while 48 were left jobless in the manufacturing sector. The electricity and related industries had six retrenchments while the art, entertainment and recreation, private households and human health and social work activities all retrenched four employees respectively.
According to the report 540 employees were retrenched in November, with 455 in October and 257 in December.
“During the reporting period, a great number of notices of retrenchments were received. The retrenchment notices ranging from small businesses to well established companies, most of whom are citing the current negative global economic conditions as the reason for reducing their workforce or total closure of business.
“The agriculture forestry and fishing is accountable for retrenching the highest number of 242 of the total affected employees, with other sectors such as wholesalers and retail trade retrenching 187, education of 159, construction of 136, accommodation and food services activities, agriculture and other sectors also contributed to the number. With the continuation of the global economic crisis, this retrenchment trend is expected to continue until the global economy has recovered (when-ever) unless a viable solution is found by all stakeholders to reduce the country’s current high unemployment rate,” the report states.
The report also states that 620 cases were registered for arbitration while 119 cases were rejected due to non-compliance with the country’s labour laws.
“The majority of cases received involved unfair dismissals followed by compliance issues, such as payment of remuneration, overtime, severance payments, etc. The rejected cases mainly involve corrections that needed to be affected to the documentation such as failure to sign properly sign forms LC21 and LG 36, authorising statements in terms of Rule 5 of the Rules in combined referrals etc.
“A total number of 186 cases were resolved of which 168 were resolved successfully through conciliation while 18 were resolved through arbitration. The finding that the majority of cases received involved compliance issues is borne out by the high success rate with conciliation. Many disputes appear to develop due to ignorance and once the provisions of the Labour Act, 2007 is explained and put into perspective in relation to the dispute during conciliation, parties are more inclined to settle the matter,” the report states further.
The report also reveals that eight applications for registration of trade unions were received. However only one trade union met all the requirements to be successfully registered.
The trade unions that want to be registered are the Public and Commercial Service Union, Namibia Retail and Manufacture Workers Union, Zambezi Farmers Union, Banking Insurance Workers Union of Namibia, Namibia Fuel, Retail and Allied Workers Union, Namibia Mineral and Construction Union, Workers Union of Namibia, Solidarity Union as well as the Small and Medium Employers Organisation of Namibia.
“Every registered trade unions and employers’ organisations have an obligation to submit their annual returns within six months after the end of its financial year. The total numbers of registered trade unions are 38 and 17 employers’ organisations. During the period under review, registered trade unions and employers’ organisations were reminded in writing to submit their annual returns timeously. Only four have submitted their annual returns.”
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