Workers at VTCs down tools

07 Oct 2015 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 07 OCT (NAMPA) - Over 300 workers at the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) and vocational training centres (VTCs) are on a countrywide strike that commenced at the NTA head office here on Wednesday.
The VTCs are from Rundu, Valombola, Zambezi, Okakarara, Eenhana, Nakayale and Windhoek.
The workers are demanding a nine per cent salary increment and management only offers 7.5 per cent. They also want the company's pay structure to change from Total-Cost-To-Company (TCTC) remuneration to basic plus and a monthly transport allowance of N.dollars 660.
The strike will continue until their grievances are met.
‘Total cost to company’ is when an employee’s salary is calculated by the total cost to the company for employing that person for one financial year, which includes benefits. The disadvantage of this kind of salary structure to employees is that when the employer sets the annual increase at inflation, increases above inflation in the costs of benefits such as medical aid and transport ultimately affects the employee’s basic salary and not the employer.
Responding to the demands of workers, the NTA's Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jerry Beukes said in a media statement issued on Wednesday that the offer of 7.5 per cent TCTC by the NTA is 2.5 per cent above the average inflation rate for the previous financial year that ended March 2015, and compares favourably with increases granted by employers in the broader education and training sector and beyond.
He emphasised that funds collected through the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Levy cannot be applied in supporting its salary bill, adding that as per notice No.5 published under the Vocational Education and Training Act (Act 1 of 2008) in Government Gazette No.5395 of 27 January 2014, VET Levy funds are ring-fenced and can only be used as prescribed therein.
Beukes said key arrangements have been necessitated by the industrial action and includes the suspension of training at VTCs as from Wednesday this week, and trainees are to return home for the duration of the industrial action.
Another arrangement is that no assessment services will be rendered by the NTA as from Wednesday countrywide for the duration of the industrial action.
He made it clear that the NTA has put in place various contingency measures within the confines of the law to ensure that other key services continue, albeit on a reduced level.