THE Namibia Employers Federation (NEF) has responded to growing concerns that employers have been given carte blanché to retrench workers after the High Court declared government regulations which prevented the laying off of workers during the Stages 1 and 2 of the State of Emergency regulations, nul and void.
Daan Straus, the secretary general of the NEF stated that the organisation has taken note of growing claims that employers are using COVID-19 as an excuse to retrench workers.
Straus denied this allegations and added that a recent survey reveals that 30% of employers indicated that they have retrenched staff or are contemplating to, while 70% of employers did not retrench and do not plan to.
According to recent statistics provided by the Labour Commissioner, over 5 000 Namibians have been retrenched in a multitude of sectors and a total of 405 unfair dismissal complaints filed as at 30 June 2020.
On 23 June 2020, the High Court of Namibia ruled in favour of the NEF and Others, by ordering the labour regulations promulgated in various proclamations during stages 1 and 2 of the State of Emergency as unconstitutional.
“Although the NEF regards the ruling as a victory for the rule of law in Namibia and in the best interest of employers, employees and the future of our country, we wish to clarify our point of view about this matter. “ Straus said.
He further added many retrenchments cannot be ascribed to the Covid-19 pandemic as many employers who did retrench or are planning to, took up negotiations with unions and staff as a result of the country’ s economic recession before the pandemic became evident.
“The NEF remains convinced that the majority of employers do not willfully wish to lay off their staff and that the economic survival of business in these times remains the overriding concern. The NEF wishes to make it very clear we are as concerned as anyone about the current retrenchments, but the long-term sustainability of enterprises and thus the long-term sustainability of the employment is of vital importance.” Straus concluded.