Labour ministry facilitates N$2m of outstanding salaries

Windhoek-During the last quarter, the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation facilitated the payment of various employees' unpaid salaries by their respective employers amounting to more than N$1 million. In addition, another amount of more than N$1 million was again paid to employees between April and June this year, through intervention by the ministry, when employers refused to honour payment of remuneration agreements.

Combined, these amounts total more than N$2.1 million facilitated in a space of only six months and cover all complaints of unpaid remunerations settled through the ministry countrywide, including at regional offices, with most complaints received from the security services industry.

According to the ministry's spokesperson, Maria Hedimbi, in most of the complaints employers were accused of being reluctant to pay their employees' renumeration either on time or as per the agreement.

If the ministry detects this violation, be it during inspections, or employees coming to the office to lay official complaints, such particular employer is then ordered to appear before a labour inspector in order to have the matter investigated in detail. In most cases, employers are found not to honour the agreements that they have entered into with their employees and that's why they are ordered to pay, Hedimbi explained.

She added that more often than not, the reasons given by employers are not justifiable, and are rather a matter of making unnecessary excuses, but through the ministry they finally end up paying.

Responding to queries from New Era, Hedimbi said she could not confirm how many employees received the N$2.1 million, but noted that it is on official record that the money was paid to respective employees when the ministry intervened.

It is unlawful for an employer to withhold the salary of his or her employee. The law is very clear that an employee is entitled to his or her remuneration not later than one hour after completion of the ordinary hours of work on the normal pay day, which may be daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly. This ministry will not tolerate this situation, or any other labour practice that can be classified as an unfair labour practice. Employers should not take advantage of their employees' situations by making them work while in most cases they know they will not pay once the work is completed, said Hedimbi.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia