The construction industry in Namibia is taking proactive steps to ensure fair wages for its workers with the recent gazetting of the Collective Agreement between the Construction Industries Federation (CIF) and the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (MANWU). This agreement, which was reached in October last year, officially came into effect on June 6, 2024, and will remain valid for two years.

Ms. Bärbel Kirchner, the Chief Executive of the CIF, expressed satisfaction with the formalization of the agreement. She highlighted the importance of the implementation date coinciding with the publication in the Government Gazette, ensuring that all businesses in the construction sector adhere to the same standards from the same date. This synchronization is crucial to maintain a level playing field, preventing any disadvantage to CIF members who were adhering to the terms prior to the gazetting.

During the met, the following was agreed that the agreement applies to all employers in the construction sector and is specific to unskilled workers as defined in the Collective Agreement. It is valid for two years from the date of gazetting and that the agreement specifies minimum wage requirements and increments for unskilled workers. The wage increase stipulated in the agreement applies only to those categories listed in the Collective Agreement. Employers already paying above the minimum wage are not required to increase wages further.

Ms. Kirchner emphasized the need for strict adherence to the new conditions, which include the provision of good standing certificates and payslips. This compliance is essential for fairness and equity within the sector, ensuring that all contractors, regardless of their affiliation, pay at least the minimum wage.

Furthermore, she called on clients and labor inspectors to be proactive in enforcing the new requirements. This enforcement is vital for maintaining the integrity of the sector and ensuring that the benefits of the Collective Agreement are realized by all eligible workers.

The gazetting of the Collective Agreement marks a significant step forward for the construction industry in Namibia, setting a standard for fair wages and equitable treatment of workers. This move not only benefits the workers but also promotes a more structured and fair business environment within the sector.


SOURCE: Namibia Economist

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