The Nudo Youth League (Nudo-YL) has thrown its weight behind striking teachers who are demanding an 8 percent salary increment while government remains steadfast in its offer of a 5 percent salary increase.
Thousands of teachers across the country yesterday downed tools after their bargaining body the Namibian National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) and government failed to reach an agreement on the increment.
Government has since indicated it will deploy a contingency plan to fill the gap left by striking teachers in classrooms, as learners sit for end-of-year exams and still have to be supervised in classrooms.
However, Nudo-YL spokesperson Kanguana Muatjitjeja said refusal by the government to increase teachers’ salaries by 3 percent would cause severe damage within the education sector that has in recent years seen a dip in passing rates among Grade 10 and 12 learners.
Muatjitjeja believes that nothing will bring the strike to an end than for government to give in to teachers’ demands.
He said the last strike by teachers in the country had catastrophic results and disrupted the education of the Namibian child.
“But yet, the government is not coming up with a lasting solution to this problem and is not learning anything from its previous mistakes,” said Muatjitjeja.
“Even though our brothers and sisters will suffer during this time, teachers have no option than to pull government by the ear to the negotiating table for better salaries.”
He said he was disappointed in a statement by President Hage Geingob in which he said “no work, no pay”, meaning if teachers strike they will not be paid for the period they down tools.
“His statement is opening up this wound even further. Our government is firing a bullet into its own foot by not solving similar problems that arise over and over.”
“If teachers are not happy with the salary they get, do you think there will be an effort from their side to carry out their duties effectively and diligently? No way!”
According to him, it puzzles him why government does not want to award the teachers 8 percent.
“Is it because there is no money, or is the government doing this deliberately for their own known reasons?”
He warned that such disruptions lead to a high failure rate among learners in government schools.
“It is high time for the head of state to jump in and solve this problem amicably. The government should come up with solutions to this problem because if they don’t do that then this problem will be a perennial problem.”
“We as the Nudo-YL, we urge, and are in support of, the teachers who are striking, to continue striking from now even until next year this time, until their demands are met. We are fully behind them.”