30 October 2012

Namibia: Erongo Teachers Join Strike

Photo: New Vision
The teachers are striking over overdue salary increases and a lack of communication from their union leaders, who are engaged in the protracted wage negotiations with the government.(File Photo)

Teachers in Walvis Bay yesterday joined teachers in other towns and regions striking over wages and alleged poor conditions of service.

Some of the teachers indicated they would continue to boycott classes in solidarity with their colleagues in the Khomas Region if government does not meet their demands.

They want wage negotiations that commenced last October to be concluded as soon as possible. During an emergency meeting attended by close to 200 teachers in Walvis Bay, the Namibian Teachers Union (Nantu)'s executive branch organiser David Gaweseb said they support fully their fellow teachers in the Karas and the Hardap regions and demand that the government acquiesce to the demands currently on the table.

Some of the teachers said it is time government listens to them. "Although the Namibian Teachers Union is against the strike, we as teachers cannot sit with our arms folded. It seems as if the government does not care about our profession, much less about upgrading the teachers," they said.

Unlike teachers in the Khomas Region, teachers at the coast decided that all relevant authorities, as well as parents, would be informed about the strike tomorrow.

A petition will be handed over to the Ministry of Education Circuit tomorrow.

Learners from various schools in the Khomas Region were sent home yesterday when close to 1000 teachers took to the streets and marched to the head offices of the Ministry of Education in the capital.

The Minister of Education, Dr Abraham Iyambo, yesterday during a media conference explained that the strike is illegal, since his ministry does not recognise the interim committee that notified the ministry about the planned strike.

"In as far as the teachers are concerned, the body that is recognised by government with all bargaining powers is Nantu," he stressed.

"We did not receive and accept the petition as it will undermine the existing recognition structures in terms of the recognition agreement signed between government and the unions," Iyambo said.

He said the ministry would continue working with Nantu as the only recognised body, and encouraged both the government and Nantu to continue with wage negotiations in good faith and in a mature and orderly manner.

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