The Secretary General of the Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu), Basilius Haingura, has criticised the University of Namibia (Unam) promotion criteria, which he claims promote academic staff members, who do not meet requirements.
A fuming Haingura, who did not guard his words at a press conference last Thursday at the National Union of Namibian Workers compound in Katutura, condemned what he called “crappy promotion criteria”, at Unam’s Neudamm and Ogongo agricultural campuses. A practice he says has been going on for a number of years without any actions. This is despite complaints being registered with the former Head of State Hifikepunye Pohamba, as Chancellor of Unam, and an investigation commissioned to look in the allegations three years ago.
Haingura now wants the Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi, to launch a full investigation into the issue. “No explanation has to date been given by Unam as to why the findings of this report have not been released,” said Haingura.
Unam management was unavailable for comment as phones went unanswered.
“This process of promotion, which the unions have come to realise, is being manipulated by certain high-profile individuals within the university,” Haingura claimed.
The union says the promotion criteria have been changed without the involvement of the bargaining agents, Nantu, and the Namibia Public Workers Union, as required by the unions’ recognition agreement with Unam.
Haingura also complained about Unam’s decision compelling staff to serve as invigilators during examinations and the planned relocation of officials to Henties Bay, as a total failure in terms of collective bargaining terms stipulated in the recognition agreement.
“We believe that invigilation is not an academic function and has ordered its members to disregard any instruction in this regard,” he said.
Haingura further condemned the decision to unilaterally relocate nine staff members from the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Department to the Henties Bay Campus.
He advised that any staff relocation must involve change of employment conditions, which must be negotiated with the union.
Furthermore, Haingura said for years Unam management has been requested to deal with the issue of salary discrepancies between academic and administrative staff.
“To date, this issue has not been resolved,” he said, adding that job evaluations were conducted, but the consultants’ report has been kept secret ever since.