Two issues force delay in new labour law

Two issues force delay in new labour law

THE new labour bill narrowly missed being passed into law on Wednesday, as a heated debate on two crucial clauses forced a postponement of the debate until next week.

An amendment to the 2007 Labour Bill introduced on Wednesday by Labour Minister Alpheus Naruseb prompted protracted debate. The amendment proposed that a labour-hire company and its client should both share responsibility for the workers and both should be regarded as the workers’ employers.Prime Minister Nahas Angula said it was not right to have labour-hire companies and Government should rather set up unemployment agencies.”If you want to ameliorate slavery – fine!” Angula charged.Other members said labour-hire companies reminded them of the old Swanla (South West Africa Labour Agency) of apartheid days.Labour Minister Naruseb then proposed not to vote on the amendment but to let it stand over to allow further debate.This was seconded by Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and in a rare moment of unity, both sides of the House agreed.The bill faced another hurdle when it came to a proposed amendment of Clause 142, which defines an employee as someone younger than 65.The House felt that some Cabinet Ministers and parliamentarians were already over 70 and the assumed retirement age of 65 should be reconsidered.They agreed to discuss the two clauses again on Tuesday.Members of Parliament at first could not agree on an amendment to Clause 28, tabled by Labour Minister Alpheus Naruseb, which proposed that an employer dismissing workers “residing on agricultural land” may not tell the workers to vacate the premises without giving them three months’ notice to do so.If a labour dispute is reported to Labour Commissioner alleging an unfair dismissal, the employer may not tell the worker to vacate the premises until the dispute is resolved.Members on both sides of the house argued that labour disputes could drag on for long time and even take years and it would be unfair to allow such a worker to remain on the premises for so long.The amendment to Clause 28 was passed, however.The amendment proposed that a labour-hire company and its client should both share responsibility for the workers and both should be regarded as the workers’ employers.Prime Minister Nahas Angula said it was not right to have labour-hire companies and Government should rather set up unemployment agencies.”If you want to ameliorate slavery – fine!” Angula charged.Other members said labour-hire companies reminded them of the old Swanla (South West Africa Labour Agency) of apartheid days.Labour Minister Naruseb then proposed not to vote on the amendment but to let it stand over to allow further debate.This was seconded by Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and in a rare moment of unity, both sides of the House agreed.The bill faced another hurdle when it came to a proposed amendment of Clause 142, which defines an employee as someone younger than 65.The House felt that some Cabinet Ministers and parliamentarians were already over 70 and the assumed retirement age of 65 should be reconsidered.They agreed to discuss the two clauses again on Tuesday.Members of Parliament at first could not agree on an amendment to Clause 28, tabled by Labour Minister Alpheus Naruseb, which proposed that an employer dismissing workers “residing on agricultural land” may not tell the workers to vacate the premises without giving them three months’ notice to do so.If a labour dispute is reported to Labour Commissioner alleging an unfair dismissal, the employer may not tell the worker to vacate the premises until the dispute is resolved.Members on both sides of the house argued that labour disputes could drag on for long time and even take years and it would be unfair to allow such a worker to remain on the premises for so long.The amendment to Clause 28 was passed, however.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News