Government lost and teachers to strike

12 Oct 2016 20:30pm
WINDHOEK, 12 OCT (NAMPA) - The looming nationwide strike by teachers in Namibia is to continue as planned on Thursday.
The industrial action is allowed to continue during the year-end examination period as planned, following a Windhoek High Court ruling that dismissed an urgent application by Government, in which the authority wanted the court to issue an interdict and stop the strike.
Handing down judgement on Wednesday evening at 18h45, High Court Judge Thomas Masuku said the reasons and legal costs for the dismissal of Government's urgent application will be made public in court on 14 November.
The ruling in favour of teachers was over the strike rules negotiated between Government and the Namibia National TeachersÂ’ Union (Nantu).
Government, through the Office of Prime Minister Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, on Friday approached the Labour Court of the Windhoek High Court to have the rules of the planned strike reviewed.
One of the disputed rules is the seven-day notice, which expires on Thursday when the strike is set to begin.
A conciliator from the Office of the Labour Commissioner decided upon the seven-day rule after Nantu leaders and Government representatives failed to reach consensus on some of the rules.
Another burning issue is the decision by Government to replace teachers with volunteers for teaching to continue during the strike.
This has drawn criticism from labour lawyers and unions, who said Government is violating the labour laws, which prohibit the replacement of striking workers - unless in situations that can result in the loss of life.
The two parties went to the High Court after they failed to reach an agreement on a salary increase, with Government insisting on five per cent and the union demanding eight per cent.
Advocate Raymond Heathcote, assisted by Florian Beukes, represented Nantu on the instructions of the Metcalfe Law Firm.
Advocate Andrew Corbett, assisted by Jabulani Ncube and Thabang Phatela, defended the Namibian Government on the instructions of the Office of the Government Attorney.