By Anna Ingwafa
Ongwediva College of Education lecturers recently staged a peaceful demonstration against salaries and conditions of service at the college.
In a petition, the lecturers claimed “delaying tactics which were employed by the then Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Employment Creation and the Ministry of Education with their negotiating teams” were responsible for their plight.
They charged that the Ministry of Education seemed to have taken a unilateral decision by deliberately referring the issue to the National Council on Higher Education (NCHE) and Advisory Council on Teachers Education and Training (ACTET), thereby disregarding the bargaining power Nantu, the union that represents them.
“We regard this move as another camouflaged delaying tactic to derail the focus of our demand for better conditions of service and salary structure,” read the petition.
The lecturers explained they have been patient since 2003.
They are demanding “the total and unequivocal implementation of our proposed salary structure and condition of service without further delay”.
They are also demanding alignment of conditions of service for lecturers of the four colleges of education to other institutions of higher learning in Namibia and the full recognition of our bargaining agent (Nantu) by the Ministry of Education.
“The Government should cease being subservient to the plight of teacher-educators. Government should be pro-active in addressing grievances of the colleges of education rather than reacting to strikes,” stated the aggrieved lecturers.
Early last year, Ongwediva, Windhoek, Rundu and Caprivi colleges of education wrote a letter through their representative to the Nantu secretary general wherein they expressed disappointment with the way Nantu handled the proposed salary structure of the academic staff at colleges of education since September 2003.
“Academic staff at colleges are very much frustrated and disappointed with the way Nantu is handling the issue. Colleges are losing competent lecturers who are capable of contributing to the effective teacher training,” states their letter.
They gave Nantu a deadline to respond but stated that depending on the nature of its response, further action would perhaps be considered.
The group handed over their petition to the Ministry of Education through Stanley Simataa, the chief executive officer of the National Council on Higher Education and Advisory Council on Teachers Education and Training.
The group gave Thursday as the deadline for their demands.