WINDHOEK: Namibian Employers’ Federation (NEF) president Vekuii Rukoro has called on Government to adopt a balanced approach to labour relations, instead of ‘bulldozing’ through legislation which is one-sided and in favour of trade union politics.In a media statement released on Monday in reaction to Namibia’s performance in the latest Global Competitiveness Index which was released by the World Economic Forum late last month, Rukoro said this is a major concern.
The country has dropped 18 positions over a two-year period in terms of its global competitiveness, and this was essentially on the back of a massive drop of 17 positions in the category for labour market deficiency, he stated.“This disappointing outcome was to be expected due to the series of labour laws enacted by Government over the three years, which were more ideologically inclined and growth-unfriendly,” the NEF president indicated.
The federation has repeatedly warned about the adverse effect of such laws on the long-term health of the national economy, especially the negative effect on employment-creation, as well as the crippling effect on sustainable enterprises.
Rukoro thus called on the Ministry of Labour to start taking the views of employers and the private sector seriously, including recommendations emanating from the Labour Advisory Council.“Failure to do so will not only result in the further deterioration of the country’s competitiveness, but will also translate into higher unemployment, deepening poverty and inequality,” he warned, adding that it is no consolation that there are good development plans and a national vision in place, if these are not supported by conducive labour market conditions.
“This calls for an end to Government acting as a rubber-stamp of trade unions’ ideological demands. Similarly, it calls for an end to Government paying lip-service to ‘cooperation with the private sector’, while at the same time continuing to ignore reliable and well-researched policy inputs of the private sector,” he stressed.
The time is long overdue for Government and trade unions to transcend traditional paradigms and belligerent confrontations in labour relations, the statement continued.