Government violates teachers’ rights
The Secretary General of the National Union of Namibia’s Workers (NUNW) Job Muniaro, attacked the government on Thursday saying it is violating the teachers’ legal right to strike by considering to employ volunteers for the duration of the intended strike.
Speaking at a press conference, Muniaro announced “Today the NUNW calls on all trade unions leadership in the country to unite and stand for their rights. This call comes as a result of the Namibian government wanting to take action against the teachers in an unlawful manner. Therefore all Namibian workers must know that their right to strike has been disrespected by our own government and we should reject such action in the highest order it deserves”. This follows Namibia’s National Teachers Union (NANTU) announcement that teachers will go on strike next week.
Muniaro said that teachers through their trade union NANTU have followed the required procedures to strike in terms of the labour laws. He further stressed that these laws gave them (the teachers) the legal right to strike. “The Labour Act 2007 (Act 11 of 2007) for instance under Chapter 7 Section 76 (3a-b) clearly states an employer must not hire any individual, for the purpose, in whole or in part, of performing the work of a striking or locked-out employee.” he summarised.
The NUNW Secretary General stressed that the law is clear on the matter, therefore it would be illegal for the government to try and replace the workers on strike in any way. “Namibia is a democratic country where everyone is under the rule of law, therefore no governing body is above the law. I therefore call on government not to try and look for volunteers to do the work of teachers that are on a legal strike.” Muniaro urged.
He stated that all Namibians are aware of the economic and social challenges of the country, which have a negative impact on the working class but however reaffirmed that it should not be an excuse to exploit the rights of workers.
In a separate statement earlier this week, the vice-president of the Teachers Union of Namibia Cde Haakuria Ndjizuvee uttered his grievances to the Ministry of Education, Art and Culture after it excluded TUN from the celebrations of World Teachers Day and furthermore cancelling the event. He said “The Ministry of Education has become the enemy of teachers as it has embarked on a exclusionist agenda in its dealings with stakeholders. A lot of teachers are denied their right to sound administrative justice because of the behaviour of technocrats in charge of executing the exclusionist agenda of the Ministry.”
Haakuria urged all to join the rest of the world by “reflecting on the teachers’ status that is under threat from the government and prepare for next week as we (the teachers) will have to battle to affirm our rights in this country.”