The country’s largest trade union federation, the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) secretary general Job Muniaro has called on the leadership of all the country’s unions to unite and stand up for workers’ right ahead of next week’s nationwide teachers’ strike.
The strike, according to Muniaro, comes as a result of government wanting to take action against teachers through what he termed is its “unlawful treatment” of teachers.
“Our unity must support the struggle of workers in short and long-term problems as well as the present and the future,” he said at a media briefing yesterday.
He said all teachers must know that their right to strike has been disrespected by government and they should reject such actions.
“When such matters arise it is the mandate of all unions to unite, stand as one, and show the world that workers’ unity is not occasional and has more than one day’s importance,” stated the NUNW SG.
Muniaro advised union leaders not to allow that their constitutional right to strike be tampered with by government.
“Teachers through their trade union have followed the right procedures to strike in terms of our labour laws – these same laws give them the legal right to strike and they should not allow themselves to be intimidated by anyone,” he said.
He further warned government not to try and look for volunteers, as per media reports, to replace teachers during the strike, saying it will be illegal.
“I call on teachers to be on the alert and to report such actions by government to its leadership,” he said.
Thousands of teachers are set to embark on a nationwide strike next week Thursday. This follows after the government failed to give them the desired eight percent salary increase. Government offered five percent.
The Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) has threatened government with court action if it replaces its members with volunteers when they go on strike.
Nantu last week gave the government a seven-day notice of the strike.
Muniaro said trade unions are well aware of the economic and social challenges having a negative impact on the working class, but added that those challenges should not be used to exploit workers’ rights.
“Workers will not surrender their right to strike through threats of job replacement, as this is not permitted by law,” he warned.