The Labour Resource and Research Institute (LaRRI) is a vibrant Namibian based research and education institute committed to the overall political and economic independence of all working people in Namibia and beyond. The institute fights for a fair, just social and economic Namibian society through labour research,education, and lobbying and advocacy. The institute believes that the nature and scope of labour research is informed by the struggles and experiences of the working people and consequently shaped by their values, principles and their world view. It is no doubt that labour is the primary source of value but many workers continue to be exploited and undervalued. LaRRI was therefore established in 1998 to seek answers to the existing economic and social order with a view to provide alternative developmental agenda in favour of the working class.
TODAY’S ‘WORKING CLASS’ Unionization rates in Namibia are high. 30 trade unions grouped into two federations represent over 100,000 workers. Namibia has no minimum wage, but trade unions have managed to negotiate minimum wage agreements in both the agricultural and construction sectors. Despite some success in the traditional sectors, Namibian Unions still face many challenges, and will have to improve their recruitment strategies and organize their workers in non-traditional sectors. Unions need to develop effective strategies to influence socio-economic policies in favor of the workers and the poor that span beyond the workplace.
EDUCATION AND LABOUR DIPLOMA LaRRI offers a range of short and medium term courses for trade union leaders, organizers, and shopstewards in Namibia and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Courses offered include: political economy, globalization, export processing zones (EPZs), structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) collective bargaining, affirmitive action, and gender issues. In addition, LaRRI offers an accredited labour diploma course, which is run in cooperation with the Workers College, the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, and the University of Namibia.
RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS Besides its research reports, LaRRI has published a range of seminar papers and articles for local and international publications. LaRRI has also produced popular booklets for trade unions, most of which are available on LaRRI’s website and the resource center. LaRRI is a founding member of the African Labour Research Network (ALRN), which carries out research projects for trade unions across Africa.
RESOURCE CENTER LaRRI continuously updates and expands its resource centre, which now contains a range of books and periodicals on various topics like trade unions in Namibia and the SADC region, industrial relations, gender equality, international trade unions, HIV/Aids, the Namibian economy, occupational health and safety, as well as UNDP and ILO publications. The resource centre serves as a library for trade unions, NGOs, students and the general public.
PUBLIC PROGRAM AND ENGAGEMENT The institute engages in public debate by organizing and being invited to public discussions, book presentations, lectures, and workshops. Media appearances are also frequent. Furthermore, the institute will expand its engagements by actively disseminating the ongoing initiatives through poster campaigns, periodic public gatherings with community members, cultural events, and social media.
RESEARCH FOCUS Organizing the unorganized. Re-defining ‘the working class’ in today’s context. Environmental justice. Mining, fishing, and farming; land-grab issues. Gender equality. Challenges confronting women workers and HIV-AIDS discrimination. Housing and urban rights. Access to housing and the right to the city. Youth and unemployment. Politics and oportunities for the youth. Foreign investment and neo-colonialism. Dispossession through trade agreements. Social protection and economic rights. Basic income grant and state spending.