Teachers have suffered a setback in their quest for an eight percent increase in their basic salaries after a conciliation process involving the labour commissioner and Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) failed on Tuesday.
Addressing the media, Nantu secretary general Basilius Haingura said the conciliation between the union and government could not materialise as planned.
“The government negotiation team is taking the teaching fraternity for granted,” he said at the press conference on Tuesday, adding that the union met with officials without instruction or mandate over the conciliation process.
He said the government officials requested a postponement of proceedings, which the union opposed.
Consequently, he said, the process could not proceed.
He said the union is convinced that the matter is not complex and does not require legal representation.
“We expect the government to uphold the laws of this country rather than interpreting the laws to suit their hidden agenda,” he said, adding that it should be clear to government when to use the services of the attorney’s office.
He said the union does not condone the attitude of the government and rejected it with the contempt it deserves.
“We will not retreat in our quest for our demands,” he stressed.
Initially, government offered a 10 percent increment for teachers who are in Grade 15 to 13 for the 2016/17 financial year, a 5 percent for Grade 12 to 5 and 4 percent for those in the category Grade 4 to 1A.
Additionally, government has also offered a 9 percent increase in housing allowance for staff members, 8 percent increase in housing allowances for the management cadre and a 10 percent increase in the home owners’ scheme for staff members.
Addressing media recently, Secretary of Cabinet George Simaata explained: “The amount that they the union are demanding is too much. Government has other obligations and Nantu should understand that teachers that are supposed to get that adjustment are already teachers that are getting a high salary and living a good lifestyle.”
He also said the union was informed on several occasions of the multiple and serious financial challenges facing government, that are compounded by the results of the prolonged drought, high employment rate, the need for mass land servicing, need for housing and the fight against poverty and hunger.
Simataa said government would rather consider priorities such as improving the quality of services, increasing and improving educational opportunities as well as deal with other issues such as the increase in food prices that had a significant impact on the Ministry of Education’s school feeding programme, rather than flashing out money on unnecessary expenses.