What is a Trade Union?
A trade union is an organisation of workers that have come together with common goals, amongst them to fight for better working conditions and wages in workplaces. Trade unions bargain with employers for better salaries and better working conditions, and also fight for the reinstatement of workers after dismissal.
What is the situation in Namibia?
Despite being a small country, Namibia has a number of trade unions. There are two main trade union federations representing workers, namely the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), which is affiliated with the ruling SWAPO party, and the Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA), which is not affiliated with any party. The National Union of Namibian Workers is affiliated to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
How many unions are there?
Namibia has about 30 trade unions which fall under the two federations. There are also some trade unions which are not registered, according to the Namibia country report.
Which trade unions affiliated to the two federations – give some examples?
Examples of some of trade unions in Namibia include the Mineworkers Union of Namibia, Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union(MANWU), Namibian Public Workers Union, Namibia Transport and Allied Union (Natau), Namibia Teachers Union, Namibian Food and Allied Workers (Nafau) and the Domestic Workers Union (Ndawu).
Duties of some of the trade unions
As an example: the Namibia National Teacher’s Union is a national democratic, autonomous teacher’s union catering for the professional, social and economic needs of its members. In short, it looks after the welfare of teachers. Then there is the Agricultural Employers’ Association (AEA) which is an affiliate of the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) and deals with labour-related issues of the agricultural sector.
Do trade unions operate on their own?
According to Namibia’s Country report, all trade unions and employers organisations are registered with the Labour Commissioner’s office of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Many trade unions in different countries have played a very crucial role in bargaining for salary increases for workers. In Namibia, the right to bargain collectively is recognised for registered trade unions that represent the majority of employees.
Employers and Trade Unions
According to the Namibia country report, employers in Namibia have a history of being hostile towards unions, refusing to recognise them or carry out various duties.