Ministry matters

Labor Department warns against unrecorded union bargaining in workplaces

business journalist

The resolution of labor issues by different political organizations and other individuals has recently increased in the country, with many of these agents barging into workplaces without notice and demanding better conditions for workers while filming these events.

Although these actions are in the spirit of empowering workers, the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Job Creation (MLIREC) has expressed concern about the influx of non-exclusive bargaining agents on different work places.

Lydia Indombo, Acting Executive Director of the Ministry of Labour, said that the Labor Act, Act No. 11 of 2007, which is one of the laws that regulate the Namibian labor market, provides for the establishment of trade unions to deal with the matter of collective bargaining.

Archive photo for reference only.

She noted that the same law makes a clear distinction between an “authorized representative”, i.e. any person authorized to represent a registered trade union or any member of the office or officer of a trade union or organization of employers.

“The law is very clear that an employer must not recognize a trade union as the exclusive bargaining agent under the Labor Act unless it is registered with the Commissioner of Labor and represents the majority bargaining unit employees.

“Because of what the law says, the department is not mandated and therefore cannot dictate to employers whether to deny or allow non-exclusive bargaining agents access to their premises let alone engage them, if their main purpose of going to the workplace is to negotiate a collective agreement on any issue affecting employees,” Indombo said.

She further informed employers, employees and aspiring exclusive bargaining agents that anything against the law becomes illegal and may carry legal implications if a party decides otherwise.

“Experience has proven the importance of exercising caution in dealing with labor matters by all means.

“Contrary to this, it defeats the purpose of effectively mitigating labor disputes and has the potential to undermine legally established avenues for the systematic prevention and resolution of labor disputes and the promotion of labor relations. work in the country”, Indombo concluded.