Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) leadership wants government to urgently address the unequal pay in the public service, which is especially prevalent in the teaching profession.
Nantu secretary general, Basilius Haingura, said the issue is that staff members in the same job grade, Grade 5, do not receive similar fringe benefits such as car and housing allowances. Haingura says the union has, on various occasions, engaged the Office of the Prime Minister to address the matter to no avail.
“We are of the view that the Office of the Prime Minister is playing delaying tactics. This attitude might result in a declaration of a dispute, as the union cannot and will not tolerate unfair labour practice,” he said.
Nantu also says it has noted the issues emanated from job evaluation and grading, especially grades 8 and 9 in the teaching sector.
He says there is one grade, which is missing that is Grade 7 and does not justify the current grading in teaching.
Nantu has also engaged the ministry in this regard and there is a delay from the ministry to reach consensus before the matter is referred to the Office of the Prime Minister for consideration.
Therefore, he informed the affected staff members in their bargaining unit that Nantu is not relenting in addressing the matter.
“It is because of our efforts that, according to informal information, the position of inspector of education has been put on hold for now until the grievance has been addressed,” he said.
Another issue of concern to Nantu is about the manner in which some regional directors of education are treating the teaching staff who are residing in government hostel houses.
“Teacher accommodation has been a stumbling block in our quest for equitable deployment of teachers, hence the lack of the provision of equitable education for all in the Namibian education system. This situation is being [brought about] by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture [Sanet Steenkamp],” he alleged.
Steenkamp was not available for comment yesterday.
Haingura said it should be clear to the ministry that Nantu is not in favour of staff members being accommodated in hostel accommodation for free.
He said they expect that each non-essential boarder residing in the hostel, especially those coming from other regions, should pay the required rental amounts as determined by government.
Moreover, he said it is disappointing to note that teachers are being evicted while accommodation spaces are available in the hostels of their respective schools.
“We have established upon inquiries that regional directors of education and school management are responsible for the eviction of staff members. The evictions are caused by regional directors of education and school management with the support of senior officials in the ministry by claiming that it was a decision of the ministerial policy coordinating committee to cut costs,” he reacted.