14 November 2012

Namibia: Teacher Says Do the Maths to Click

Windhoek — The 8 percent salary increase for civil servants, together with the transport allowance, would make little impact on the salary of a teacher with a three-year diploma. This is the view of one teacher, Mildred Ford.

This would add N$404,40 to the N$5 055 monthly salary, and the transport allowance of N$400 translates in a total increase of about N$800, Ford told New Era over the weekend.

Ford felt compelled to give a detailed breakdown of teachers' actual salary structure, for the public to understand the rationale behind the demand of a 40 percent increment, which she says "will not even make a significant difference compared to the current cost of living".

Ford says a 40 percent increment would at the very least increase the basic salary by N$2 022 to N$7 022, as opposed to the 8 percent increase, which adds a mere N$404 to the salary.

A 40 percent increment together with transport allowance would push up the salary to N$7422. "We are not greedy teachers, we are responsible professionals. Our profession is a specialised one and cannot be put on the same level as other civil servants' professions. The value of our work cannot be compared to other professionals in the public sector. Every person has to pass through the hands of a teacher," said Ford.

At the moment there is a great deal of confusion and uncertainty among teachers regarding the strike as divisions start to manifest among them over whether or not to continue the illegal strike.

Those who intend to stick to their guns and to continue the protest until all their demands are met risk inevitable confrontation with the law sooner or later. Teachers are no longer speaking with one voice with some vowing to continue with the illegal strike, while others have resumed their duties.

The government negotiating team and the Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) and the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) last week agreed on an 8 percent salary increase and other benefits for all public servants.

In addition to the 8 percent salary increase, public servants also scored a 100 percent increase in their housing allowance, as well as improved transport and medical aid benefits. However, teachers have roundly denounced the agreement.

"By reviewing the calculations, I trust that the public would perhaps now agree that a salary increment of 40 percent does not even meet our needs, taking into account the cost of water, electricity, just to mention but a few items and worst of all, to afford a basic necessity, a house," Ford said, adding that the remuneration "we are currently receiving does not justify our worth."

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