College Lecturers Threaten Strike

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By John Ekongo

WINDHOEK – Lecturers at the four colleges of education in the country are threatening to down tools tomorrow following Government’s failure to address their plea for salary increments.

A statement issued by the lecturers condemns the Government, particularly the Government negotiating team (GNT), for the delay in resolving their salary grievances since November last year when negotiations started.
The lecturers claim that their salary grievances date as far back as 2003. Since then, there have been no tangible results from the GNT, which operates from within the Office of the Prime Minister.

The lecturers claim that they have run out of patience and can no longer entertain the delaying tactics employed by the GNT.

The 180 trainers claim that they submitted their request in November last year, but it was met with no answer from the Office of the Prime Minister. Given that, the group alongside its bargaining unit, the Namibian National Teachers Union (Nantu), approached the Office of the Labour Commissioner, requesting assistance for the setting up of a conciliation board to mitigate the dispute between the two parties.

The commissioners declined to set up the body, invoking Section 75 Sub-section 3 of the Labour Act No. 6 of 1992.
However, the Labour Office in turn advised the group and Nantu to follow the procedures and recognition agreement that is in place and resolve the dispute by means of negotiations.

Since then, three ultimatums have been issued to the GNT, and yielded no results.

The first deadline was on April 18, this year, followed by another one – a four-day ultimatum between June 2-6. The third ultimatum was issued on June 9, with deadline for response set for June 13.
No response was given on the occasions, according to Liswani Simasiku, the group’s spokesperson.

“The union demands the speedy implementation of the proposal that is on the table, failure of this will lead to an indefinite industrial action planned to start on Tuesday, June 17”, read a statement from the lecturers.
Speaking from Katima Mulilo yesterday, Simasiku stated: “Nothing came of our demands, there is no new development as yet, and as a result, in all likelihood the industrial strike will go ahead as planned. If the Government does not implement the proposal that we gave them, then the strike would be inevitable. We will have a meeting tomorrow (Monday) to discuss the modalities of the strike.”

Efforts to get comment from the Government proved futile as the official in charge of the GNT was said to be outside the country and was only expected back in office today.

The lecturers are demanding a salary increment backdated to November last year.

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