Tucna Wants ‘Relevant’ Labour Aisory Council

The Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA) is in the process of asking the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to consider revamping its Labour Aisory Council (LAC).

During the start of a two-day workshop yesterday at a lodge just outside Windhoek, TUCNA Secretary General, Mahongora Kavihuha, said the union is in the process of proposing an alternative to the LAC that would be better equipped to engage both workers and employers in a social dialogue. “We need to make the LAC a relevant body. We have already approached employers and they have bought into the new proposal. We are now at an aanced stage to present the proposal to government in order for the LAC to effectively facilitate social dialogue,” said Kavihuha. He added that in order for this to take place the Labour Act will have to be amended as the mandate for the LAC is contained within the Act.

During the start of the two-day workshop on capacity building for decent work in Namibia, Kavihuha noted that in many cases TUCNA has been excluded from decision-making bodies. However, he added that the union is making inroads in this regard such as being appointed to represent workers on the board of the Social Security Commission. Also speaking at the commencement of the workshop, senior specialist in workers’ activities at the International Labour Organisation, Inviolata Chinyangarara, who is based in Pretoria, remarked that the ILO is working closely with Namibian organizations. According to him unemployment is increasing in many countries throughout the world, and the ILO is closely monitoring the quality of employment created and not the quantity. The ILO is also working with social protection agencies, such as the Social Security Commission, to investigate the possibility of extending social protection to the informal sector of the economy. “The challenge is also to ensure that economic growth translates into an increase in decent employment. We need to ensure that people get better and more productive jobs as is called for in Namibia’s Second National Employment Policy”, said Chinyangarara.

Decent work is described in the employment policy as work that is productive, safe and delivers a meaningful income, with security in the workplace and social protection for families. The policy, which runs until 2017 calls for decent work to entail better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom of expression and association, as well as to organize and participate in decision making and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men. TUCNA was formed as a merge between two major organizations, namely the Namibia Federation of Trade Unions (NAFTU) and the Namibia People’s Social Movement (NPSM) at the annual trade union congress held in May 2002 at a Windhoek hotel. The two federations came to a mutual understanding and decided to form a ger organization. TUCNA is the umbrella body for over 15 affiliated unions that serve over 40 000 employees throughout the country.

Source : New Era