Embracing Dual Unions

Namibian employees are witnessing a significant transformation in their workplaces as two unions are emerging in industries which have long been monopolised by a single labour organisation since the country’s independence.

This newfound diversity in union representation is not just a welcome change, but a golden opportunity for workers to enhance their working conditions and rights.

For decades, a single union held sway over the workers in various sectors, which has resulted in limited options and bargaining power for employees.

However, with the emergence of the Revolutionary Union, this situation is changing.

With the arrival of a second union, workers are now better positioned to negotiate for fair wages, improved benefits, and safer working conditions.

Having two unions within an industry means that workers have more options.

This competition between unions encourages them to work harder to represent their members effectively, resulting in better collective bargaining outcomes.

Different unions may bring diverse perspectives and strategies to the table, allowing for a broader range of solutions to labour-related issues.

This diversity of thought could lead to more innovative and effective approaches to workplace challenges.

Traditional unions have been limiting and blackmailing members with useless benefits, but with new unions, employees can look forward to progressive benefits, such as study policies and employee shareholding schemes.

Dual union representation could serve as a checks-and-balances system within the industry.

If one union fails to address the needs and concerns of its members adequately, employees could turn to the alternative union for support and representation. Employees must by all means necessary hold trade unions accountable.

The presence of multiple unions empowers employees to make informed choices about which organisation best represents their interests. This encourages active engagement and participation among workers in shaping their workplace environment.

While the emergence of a second union brings opportunities, it is not without its challenges. The unions would need to compete fairly for the trust and membership of employees and labour relations may become more complex.

The outdated Labour Act needs a complete overhaul to protect the interests of members.

The 90-day period granted during the transition from one union to another does not do members justice.

However, this dynamic environment could still lead to a stronger and more equitable workforce as long as employees apply sufficient pressure on their unions.

Workers must seize the opportunity to actively engage with unions and work together to create a more favourable and equitable work environment for all.

Julius Natangwe

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