APS/NUNW agree to cooperate on labour matters

WINDHOEK: Africa Personnel Services (APS) and the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) have agreed to work together on labour issues in Namibia.

The APS management, one of the biggest labour-hire companies in the country, also agreed to rectify among others the unfair dismissal of workers between 2005 and 2009.

The working and cooperation agreement between the two entities was made public by APS Group Financial Director Robert de Villiers and NUNW’s Acting Deputy Secretary-General Job Muniaro at a joint media conference held here on Wednesday afternoon.

“The management of the APS would like to apologise for the ill-treatment and unfair labour practices which were committed by the APS over the past few years, and the damages they have caused to the Namibian workers, the leadership of the NUNW and its affiliated trade unions,” said De Villiers.

The APS financial director assured the Namibian workers and the country at large that the past ill-treatment and unfair labour practices against Namibian workers will not be repeated by the APS.

He further said the APS will be committed to the provisions of Namibia’s Labour Act, and assured the NUNW leadership and its affiliate unions that all labour matters will be solved between them as employers and their affiliates as from today onwards.

On his part, Muniaro said the leadership of the NUNW is pleased to hear that the APS has finally accepted the federation’s call for fair practices.

“The NUNW has wholeheartedly accepted the APS apologies to the federation’s leadership and most importantly to the Namibian workers. The NUNW also accepts that APS has now recognised the NUNW as the true representative of Namibian workers.

Therefore, we are also accepting the APS proposal of signing a recognition agreement that would be extended to our affiliates,” he said.

Muniaro noted that the NUNW leadership will now be working hard in order to create a conducive working relationship between the labour-hire company and the federation.

The management of APS and the NUNW leadership have also vowed to work hand-in-hand as a united force to help contribute to the economic development and growth of the country.

In December 2009, the Windhoek Supreme Court ruled that a previous version of Section 128 of the Labour Act, which outlawed labour hire in the country, was unconstitutional.

However, the National Assembly (Parliament) made and passed some amendments to Section 128 of the Labour Act in August 2013.

In its new form, Section 128 does not outlaw labour hire outright.

It stipulates that when a company uses a worker from a labour-hire agency, that worker is an employee of the company.

As such, the worker enjoys the same rights as other employees of the company under the Labour Act, including protection against unfair dismissal and the right to join a trade union of his or her own choice.

The APS is now operating under the new Section 128 of the Labour Act without any problems, said De Villiers.