Govt, Nantu agreement halts teachers’ strike
After protracted negotiations the Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) and government over the weekend reached an agreement on wages and salaries for this financial year to be spread over the next financial year, thus bringing relief to stakeholders and to the parents of grade 10 and 12 students, whose final examinations had to be postponed for two days after the nationwide strike took effect on Thursday.
The new agreement will see Nantu members in the lowest job category receiving a 10 percent increase.
Those in the middle categories – principals and heads of department – would receive 5 percent increase, while the highest job category will receive a 4 percent increase. The increments are to be backdated to April 1.
The agreement also stipulates that in the next financial year Nantu members will receive a 9 percent increase across the board. The wages and conditions agreed to with Nantu also apply to civil servants represented by Napwu, thus nullifying the earlier 5 percent increase offer, which Napwu had agreed to.
The government signed the agreement with Nantu and the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) on Saturday in the presence of President Hage Geingob, who intervened by putting into focus the seriousness of the teachers’ strike in the middle of the end-of-year exam period.
Also present were Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Minister for Presidential Affairs Frans Kapofi and secretary to Cabinet George Simataa, who announced the new agreement.
As part of the wage deal the parties agreed to amend the agreement of April 11 regarding salary adjustments for the 2017/18 financial year. It was agreed that the proposed 7 percent across the board salary adjustment would be raised by 2 percent to make it 9 percent in 2017/18.
The proposed 7 percent increment on transport allowance and 7 percent on motor vehicle allowance for the management cadre remains the same.
The effective date for the salary and benefits adjustments for the 2017/18 financial year will be April 1, 2017.
In response, Nantu president Simeon Kavila called on teachers to report for work on Monday, as the two-day strike has officially ended.
The parties agreed that the salary adjustments for the 2016/17 financial year will remain at 10 percent for the lowest grades (15-13), while senior educators (grades 12-5) will get a 5 percent increase and the top grades (4-1A) – mainly directors and deputies – will get 4 percent across the board.
Housing allowances for staff members below management cadre will remain at 9 percent, compared to the housing allowance for management cadre, which is fixed at 8 percent.
The housing subsidy for staff members will remain at 10 percent for this year.
Prior to the launch of the strike last week the parties underwent several stages of negotiation over the disputed salary increments, with attempts to resolve the matter headed by a Labour Concilliator, but to no avail.
The deadlock eventually culminated in a notice of industrial action issued by Nantu for strike action to commence on October 13.
The two-day strike forced the government to suspend school activities and all examinations for two days.
President Geingob initially intervened in the matter on Tuesday and Wednesday with a view to resolving the dispute with Nantu, which seemed amenable to certain proposals from government.
The negotiations that were concluded over the weekend saw both parties agreeing on the 5 percent salary increment for this year, on condition that an extra 2 percent will be paid next year.
Teachers will thus get the latest increase backdated to April.
Speaking at a press conference at State House following the signing of the agreement, secretary to Cabinet George Simataa said the parties on Saturday reached an agreement on the salary increment for the 2017/18 financial year.
Napwu was then also notified of the agreement and consented thereto, which led to a collective signing agreement.
He noted that part of the signed agreement supersedes the agreement entered into between government and Napwu pertaining to the salary adjustment for the 2017/18 financial year.
Nantu secretary general Basilius Haingura said Napwu members should appreciate Nantu’s efforts to get the needed salary and benefit adjustments.