UNDER a hundred teachers gathered yesterday at the Habitat Research Center in Windhoek for a mass meeting to decide on the way forward on salary increments, with the majority crying that they live in debt and in unsustainable living conditions and are now hungry for action to demand for salary increments.
One of the teachers stated that they have been on the same salary for the past eight years, with some teachers approaching retirement without receiving a raise, and they are now desperate for action to be taken.
The meeting, which was organized by the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN), was characterised by heated exchanges after the other teachers union the Namibia National Teachers Union (NANTU) issued a statement distancing itself from the event.
The call to boycott the meeting fell on deaf ears among those who were present, where TUN Secretary General (SG) Mahongora Kavihuha expressed his dissatisfaction with teachers’ economic struggles and called for a nationwide consultative process.
Some of the teachers at the meeting also expressed their dissatisfaction with their NANTU membership, stating that they are tired of the union’s failure to act and struggle to de-register from the union, because they are not provided with the right documentation.
Others lamented that the situation calls for extreme actions such as downing tools at the most crucial time, which Kavihuha when quizzed said will only be decided upon once they conclude their nationwide consultations in two weeks.
Meanwhile, NANTU Khomas Region in their statement urged members and
teachers in particular to distance themselves from this meeting to
avoid an unwanted situation that happened in 2012.
As far as they are concerned, their members and teachers are well informed on the progress made so far regarding the salary negotiation process with the government.
‘’Members are once again informed that a dispute of interest has been registered with the Office of the Labour Commissioner, after the parties reached a deadlock on the 24th of February 2022. While the process is ongoing NANTU and NAPWU would like to request their members and teachers in particular, to remain calm and patient, and allow the law to take its own course’’ the NANTU statement reads.
In February 2021, Napwu and Nantu presented the government with a salary and benefits increment proposal for 2021/2022.
The unions demanded a 10 percent pay raise across the board, a 25 percent increase in qualifying amounts for housing subsidies, a 10 percent increase in transportation for civil servants below management, and a 9 percent increase in housing allowances.
In 2016, NANTU and the government agreed to keep the teachers’ pay increase at 5 percent for the 2016/17 fiscal year, while promising a nine percent increase for 2017/18 fiscal year.
A strike that had threatened to bring the education sector to its knees was averted thanks to the agreement.