BOTH the workers and their employers stand to benefit when trade unions have skilled and well informed shop stewards at various workplaces.
This is the view of Primus Joseph, the chief organizer of the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (NAFAU) in the northern regions.
Speaking to Informanté after a two-day workshop for shop stewards held at Oshakati recently, Joseph said that the workshop was meant to enlighten the workers’ representatives and sharpen their negotiating skills for the benefit of the workers without undermining the employer.
The workshop focused on the role of trade unions, the history of NAFAU and the reason for its existence.
“Shop stewards represent the workers at the workplace. They therefore need to be well-informed people who know the workers’ rights and responsibilities and know how to represent the workers. They must also ensure that workers know their rights and are conversant with employer policy and code of conduct,” he said.
There have been reports that some trade unionists try to line their own pockets by betraying workers’ interests.
Trade unionist Sakeus Taapopi Shikongo was arrested in July this year for allegedly soliciting a bribe from the employer in exchange for convincing employees to settle for a reduced salary increase.
Joseph said that his trade union will not tolerate two-faced workers’ representatives who pretend to represent the workers while secretly undermining their interests.
The Oshakati workshop was attended by close to 50 participants and was conducted by NAFAU personnel from the union’s national headquarters in Windhoek.