Last week, the Namibian workforce joined the rest of the world in commemorating workers day or May Day as it is popularly know. This is the only day that the workers from across the strata of society can at least feel united and share their problems.
At least for the first time, there is no superior worker or inferior worker just because of the tag of workmanship that they both carry, those that are poorly paid, those that work like bandits, those that have the most pathetic conditions to work under and those that are bosses in their own rights have to be sitting on one table and pretend to be the same.
Alas, this is the same time that the Government has just approved a N$1 200 minimum salary for domestic workers. Indeed they are workers as well, even though some of their bosses get paid N$1million per month, they just have to pretend to be on the same boat.
Lest we forget that the security guard that has to take all the nonsense about coming to work late, never mind whether the that he has been taxed or not. He just has to take a lot of rubbish from his boss for not being at work on time.
This is also the time that a construction worker, who has to carry excrement in a plastic back from a Chinese construction site, is recognised as a worker. Notwithstanding that the Government will not take action about such gross abuse of employees.
This is also the same time that that the worker who serves you food in a restaurant but does not have a glimpse of how that food taste like can pretend to be a valuable worker. God knows if that very same worker will ever have the opportunity to make the fork and knife dangle in the fancy plate that he or she serves his customers in. What a shame this is what workers day has become for the ordinary worker.
Where is the Government when
needed the most?
President Hage Geingob in the speech delivered on his behalf by the Minister of Labour, Erkki Nghimtina, made it categorically clear that abuse of workers should not be tolerated in this country.
There should not be a time when capitalism reigns supreme when the Namibian worker is being exploited to the bone. Perhaps Government and the Ministry of Labour specifically need to make sure that the country is instituting action on such abusers of workers.
The fact that the labour court is inundated with cases between the worker and the employer simply means that there is a problem between the two.
The Villager recently reported that the labour court is failing to deal with the constant cases of a labour nature being registered with them. There is need for the country to come up with an efficient arbitration system where disputes between the worker and the employer are dealt with. This will perhaps put a stop to the time when the Government can just talk and nothing is being done.
What is good for Jim is not god for Jack
There also the need for the Namibian industry and Government to stop sweeping all the workers with one brush because the challenges that they face are not the same.
While a State Owned Enterprise boss will not have sleep when he does not receive his pay check to acquire the latest range of automobile, while a maid will be struggling to find N$10 to go to her work place. At same time when a poorly paid Journalist is worried about the type of insult he or she will receive from his Editor when he or she fails to complete an article or the security guard is shivering at a place where he guards without bullets in the fong kong gun provided to him by his employer.
This is the sad reality that the different strata of workers in the country face. Thus, there is need for the unions to really understand the plight of workers.
To hell with the patronised trade unionist
Well, well, well…I certainly pity the workers in Namibia who have to rely on that trade unionist who eats in the same pot with the capitalist, who is exploiting the workers.
This is the same trade unionist that has the audacity to sit in a fancy boardroom discussing challenges facing employees in the morning and in the afternoon he will be having a luncheon with the boss of the same company, alas in the evening his bank account will be sorted.
So what do you think the same liar who dines and wines with the exploitative hand can do for the poor worker who struggles to find tax money.
The country needs unionist with teeth to bite the hell out of those exploiting workers. We need unions that have the power to tell the capitalist system they will not exist without the workers. Unfortunately, this could be a long lasting dream that will probably end up in a nightmare. In this month of workers, one should ask what there is to celebrate for the Namibian worker.