AEA, Labour Commissioner discuss farm labour issues

Windhoek-The Agricultural Employers' Association (AEA) and the Labour Commissioner met recently to discuss the role and function of the Labour Commissioner.

Danie van Vuuren from the EAE paid Labour Commissioner Henri Kassen a courtesy call on September 20. The Labour Commissioner was also informed about the role of the AEA that inter alia promotes labour relations on commercial farms.

The frustration of many farmers with regard to labour disputes was also brought to the attention of the Commissioner. Numerous workers who are dismissed, lately started to make cases against their employer, despite the fact that their dismissal was fair and legal.

Kassen said the Labour Act does not make provision for a process to verify whether the worker has a case or not. It can only be determined at conciliation/arbitration hearings and unfortunately the employers have to pay for the costs to go to town for the hearing.

The Labour Act is currently under review and one of the recommendations is that if a matter is reported to the Ministry of Labour, it should be referred to a Labour Inspector for investigation and possible settlement before it is submitted for conciliation.

If so accepted and amended, the Act can save a lot of time and costs for both the employer and the employee, members of the AEA felt. The Labour Commissioner's Office offered training on labour relations on farmers' days and farmers associations are free to contact the office and invite a training officer to attend their meetings for that purpose.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia