Katutura Youth Enterprise Centre (Kayec) employees, mainly instructors and cleaners, have threatened to down tools this month if management fails to urgently address their grievances over alleged low salaries.
Workers hinted they would also down tools over the lack of teaching materials. Documents seen by New Era show gross salary schedules for Kayec staff members. The government-funded institution’s top management have hit the pay ceiling, while low-level staff are rewarded meagerly for their efforts to uplift young Namibians, who failed to make it through formal education and were left wandering the streets, adding to the already high unemployment numbers.
The documents indicate that a Kayec director earns N$72 139 a month, his deputy director nets N$34 859 per month, the human resource manager gets N$33 699 a month, while a monitoring and evaluation officer grosses N$22 632 a month.
A communication officer earns N$21 674 per month. The instructors and trainers are aggrieved and feel they do so much work and take home only N$6 322, little more the cleaners who earn N$5 528 per month.
“This is not a fair salary structure, because only the [top] individuals are benefiting from the taxpayers’ money. We, as instructors, are doing so much work. How can a trainer get almost the same salary as a cleaner?
“We reached a deadlock. We approached the Labour Court and were given the go-ahead to strike as these issues are long coming and legitimate,” remarked an instructor who refused to be named, speaking on behalf of affected staff members.
Even though they threatened to strike this month they did not give a definite date, saying they have to sort out a few issues, such as the position of those staff who are still on contract.
“Currently the institution is fully funded by the NTA (Namibia Training Authority), but this fund from NTA is only benefiting top management, while the other staff members are starving.
“There is no salary scale at Kayec. No financial reports are ever produced, and there is no transparency, and there is no equal treatment when it comes to salaries, because some trainers are getting salaries equal to the Kayec cleaners,” instructors grumbled.
They also accuse Kayec director Nelson Prada of practicing favouritism when it comes to remuneration packages. “He only favours top management, because they are working in cohoots when it comes to salaries. We also don’t have uniforms, which we were supposed to be given by February already. The students still do not have textbooks. He tells us that there is no money, but he recently appointed a consultant for finance. We can’t properly teach, because we’re understaffed while they enroll so many students. We can’t cope under these working conditions,” one instructor explained.
Contacted for comment, the Kayec director denied allegations of favouritism, but admitted that the issue of salaries is a problem. Prada said Kayec is currently engaged in salary negotiations with the Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu).
“We’re shocked that they went to the media, because Nantu urged staff to be calm while we negotiate. Nantu said they will consult with the members, so we’re still waiting on this process of salary negotiations. We’re surprised that people are taking confidential information to the public,” he said.
He, however, admitted hiring a consultant, saying they could not find a suitable candidate to fill the position of finance manager. “Our finance manager resigned. We conducted a recruitment process, but unfortunately we could not get someone and we needed a person to help us with auditing. So we got a consultant to help us with bookkeeping,” he noted.
On teaching materials, he said the books were ordered from the NTA a long time ago, but have not been delivered despite the first intake, which started last month. The institution paid for the uniforms of staff members, but they are still waiting on the embroidery company – which he declined to name – to deliver the uniforms.
Nantu secretary general Basilius Haingura was not available for comment by the time of going to press. Kayec is a non-profit organisation founded in 1995 with the aim of building the skills base of the youth and empowering Namibian children to be their best, regardless of circumstances.