Teachers Union to hand in notice of strike date
The National Teachers Union (NANTU) said in a statement their vote results show that 95% of their members voted to go on strike if the education ministry will not heed the teachers’ plea for a salary increase.
In amplification of the NANTU statement, the Vice President of the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) Mr Matthew Haakuria told the Economist that the next step in the looming strike action will involve the union furnishing the state with notice on the strike date which is still to be revealed.
Haakuria said that TUN has observed the events surrounding the voting process and has keenly noticed the threats, intimidation efforts and outright assaults on the person of the Namibian teacher over the past two weeks. “TUN therefore wishes to assure the President that it is not the teachers who are making the country ungovernable, but instead it is members of his own cabinet who are doing so” Haakuria stated.
The TUN Vice President further detailed that within the period of the submission of the notice of strike action to the employer (government) the union will engage teachers on the laws governing the strike and will also address the conciliator from the Labour Commission on the litigation processes governing the strike.
In his grievances to the state, Haakuria listed that the Ministry of Education deliberately compared salaries of Namibian teachers to that of teachers in neighboring countries while she (Hon. Katrina Hanse-Himarwa) knows very well that economic realities in the comparative countries are not the same. “This was a gimmick aimed at making teacher appear greedy in the eyes of the public” he said.
He also mentioned the apparent intimidation efforts of the Ministry of Education, saying “The Directorate of Education in the Hardap region sent out a letter to this effect and there are reports of markers being called to sign that they will attend the marking sessions, something which is never been done in the history of this country and many more” Haakuria stated.
In a legal document on the strike process, he stated that despite the provisions of any contract of employment or collective agreement, an employer must not require an employee to work who is not participating in a strike in compliance with chapter 7 Section 76, unless the work is necessary to prevent any danger to life, personal safety or health. The employer may also not hire any individual, for the purpose, in whole or in part, of performing the work of a striking lock-out employee.
“The Ministry of Education should stop running around like a headless chicken! It should act in a rational manner under the current circumstances as it might be exposed to litigation. The solution to the problem is the granting of 8% as demanded by teachers.” he said.
Haaikura further urged teachers not to sign anything that may appear to be out of the usual, noting that it is aimed at intimidating them and they should report any such efforts by the Ministry of Education to the Unions.
Enquiries at the Ministry of Education revealed that the matter is now under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Prime Minister.