Teachers might strike for eight per cent increase

22 Aug 2016 18:00pm
WINDHOEK, 22 AUG (NAMPA) - Teachers will decide themselves whether or not to embark on industrial action after their bargaining unit, the Namibia National Teachers' Union (NANTU), reached a deadlock on salary negotiations with Government.
Addressing a media conference in the capital on Monday, NANTU Secretary-General (SG) Basilius Haingura explained the union received a certificate of unresolved dispute in terms of Labour Act No 11 of 2007, Section 82, subsection (15) and would therefore take the next step, and have its members decide on the offer from Government.
This will be done through ballot papers to be issued by that union to all government schools countrywide, on which teachers will indicate their decision.
The union is demanding an eight per cent increase for this financial year, which was rejected by Government who already gave teachers at grades 11 to five, a five per cent increase for the 2015/16 financial year.
The salary increase of teachers is aligned with the three-year rolling budget of the Ministry of Finance and also the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period. Government had engaged with the Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU), which agreed to the five per cent increment for the 2015/16 financial year, but NANTU never agreed to the five per cent and has been in a deadlock since May 2016.
Haingura said ballot papers will be issued once schools re-open on 31 August and occurrence of the strike depends on the outcome of teachers’ vote.
“We are aware of the external forces who are attempting to intimidate and discourage our members. The leadership of NANTU is being accused of blocking the five per cent, hence now is the time for all our members to express themselves on their demands of the eight per cent,” he stressed.
A statement read at a media conference on Friday on behalf of Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila stressed that the continued lack of agreement with NANTU on a five per cent general salary adjustment for grades 12 to five, which is the maximum that can be afforded in the current economic situation, poses a serious challenge.
She urged the union to consider the impact of industrial action on the situation of the children and the future of the country.
“Surely, considering the significant investment in the civil servants and the teachers in particular, our children and country deserve better than an industrial action at a critical point in their studies,” she noted.
Agreement between NAPWU and Government was reached for the 2015/16 financial year, for a general salary adjustment of a six per cent for grades 15 to 12; five per cent for Grade 11 to five; and three per cent for grades four to 1A.
The total cost for the adjustment amounted to N. dollars 900 million.
(NAMPA)
EK/LI/AS