The Workers’ Day has come and gone and it is back to work.
It is heartening, though, to listen to well prepared speeches all hailing the importance of workers in the economy. Union leaders in their militant fashion are always at hand firing a tirade of accusations to employers who fail to improve their employees’ working conditions. Sadly, it starts and ends there until the next event the following year!
The rhetoric has become meaningless and the majority of workers have lost faith in their union bosses who are constantly accused of pursuing their own agendas - mostly power and access to hefty pay cheques for doing literally nothing.
In the mean time, the conditions of the average worker does not get any better as economic hardships tighten their grip; a fact that needs a hard look.
We are fond of pretending that nothing is happening. At most, we often pass the buck to all but at he on whom the blame should be placed right at the doorsteps.
Workers all over the world and [particularly] in Namibia are faced with grim challenges on a day to day basis. Talk of the constant labour unrests being a sign that not all is well and that the tripartite alliance amongst Government, the labour unions and employers should be put to test to deliver. It is time that unions step up and get their hands really dirty if they are to earn their place in the hearts and minds of workers who foot their bills. Threats and press conference intelligence have long expired as effective means of delivering required results. Are those complaints not deafening enough?
Going by the statistics of the recent results of the Labour Force Survey, 32.2% of the country’s population earns between N$1000 and N$3 999.
Take Windhoek City in context. The majority of the city’s working population is already condemned to eternal poverty. It does not come as a surprise that the informal settlements are growing with each passing day in a country with a population of only 2.1 million. That said, having the majority of that figure living in shacks is just unacceptable. Have we therefore sold the country we fought so hard for to the highest bidder that is Greed? Surely one wonders where the local authorities’ hearts and consciences are amidst all this!
Until recently, the much hated auctioning of erven has been a stumbling block for many first home buyers. As a result, numerous complaints simply landed on deaf ears; of course with a back-on-the-wall justification of why we do what we do. This has since created a cartel of only a few monied individuals with deep pockets being able to purchase land while the unions and Government watch. And to think that these are the very people whose votes are our coupons to power!
To the youth of this country, things are not any better. There has been a huge outcry over the activities within the Ministry of Health and Social Services. I bet we might as well appoint another commission to look into the Ministry of Youth National Service, Sports and Culture’s activities.
Honestly, if this ministry were living up to its mandate, the Namibian youth would be among some of the most progressive members in the African continent, given the resources this country has. It is time we did some serious soul searching on the manner in which concerns and challenges of the youth are being tackled.
Let’s put our hands together and put up a fight on regionalism, tribalism and a whole host of other isms which have the potential of reserving our gains we have made.
Together we can create a successful and prosperous nation for all and for the future generations. Until next time, enjoy! PF