While seventeen Kayec instructors are still embroiled in a protracted strike over better wages and other issues, Higher Education, Training and Innovation Deputy Minister Dr Becky Ndjoze-Ojo has insisted she is powerless to take any action to resolve the strike.
A strike at Youth Enterprise Centre (Kayec) Trust, a non-governmental organisation, has entered its fifteenth week over alleged salary discrepancies and a lack of teaching materials.
Responding to questions recently by the opposition in parliament, Ndjoze-Ojo said: “I have to reiterate that the Kayec trustees juristic entity is governed by a Board of Trustees and by virtue of that as a ministry we do not have a mandate to interfere with the issues affecting Kayec.”
She said as the ministry responsible for technical vocation and education training in the country they are indeed very much concerned about the ongoing strike, because it severely affects the skills development of Namibian youths.
When contacted for comment yesterday the Kayec Board of Trustees chairperson Luke Tato said he could not comment since he still had to meet board members to discuss the highly contentious issue.
“I don’t really have an answer to your questions as we as board haven’t met to discuss the issue,” he said.
Instructors at the NGO are demanding a 10 percent salary increment across the board plus fringe benefits. Kayec has offered a 5.1 percent increase.
Spokesperson for the striking instructors, Donald Kuhanga, yesterday confirmed to New Era they are waiting for the arbitrator’s ruling on November 10 whether the strike is legal or not.
Early this year New Era had reported a Kayec director earns N$72 139 a month. His deputy director nets N$34 859 per month and the human resources manager gets N$33 699 a month, while a monitoring and evaluation officer grosses N$22 632 a month and a communication officer earns N$21 674 a month.
The instructors and trainers feel they do much work only to take home N$6 322, little more than the cleaners who earn N$5 528 per month.
Kayec human resources manager Johan Visagie recently said that their hands are tied as they are waiting for the decision of the arbitrator.
Ndjoze-Ojo informed parliamentarians that activities at various Kayec centres resumed and that four instructors at the Ondangwa centre reported for duty, and have already contacted trainees so that training could commence for the following trades: bricklaying and plastering; plumbing and pipe-fitting; painting, glazing and tiling; foundational skills; and technical drawing/mathematics.
Additionally, Ndjoze-Ojo said, she was also informed that eight instructors and two administrative staff members reported for duty on September 12, while seven staff members are still on strike.
She said training at the Wanaheda centre would have resumed in the following trades: joinery and cabinet making; plumbing and pipe-fitting (2 classes); welding and metal fabrication; electrical installation (2 classes); joinery and cabinet making; and foundational skills such as instruction on HIV/AIDS and English.
Moreover, she said, she was also informed that when the strike started about three months ago certain courses were not affected by the strike, such as fashion design, international computer driving licence (ICDL), tractor-loader backhoe-operation and forklift operation, at Wanaheda and Ondangwa campuses.