Schools closed as civil servants vote on strike

July 27, 2022

The government has suspended classes on Thursday and Friday this week to allow teachers to vote for industrial action over salary and other benefits for the fiscal years 2021/2022 and 2022/2023.

This comes after the government and unions reached a deadlock over salaries.

"The ministry as mandated by the afore-mentioned Act, hereby grants permission for deviation from the approved Calendar for 2022. The Regional Directors of Education, Arts and Culture embedded in the respective Councils, are hereby tasked to oversee the suspension of teaching and learning activities for the day scholars on 28 and 29 July 2022 in order to allow the balloting process for teachers and Unified Staff on the establishment of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture. Regional Directors through the respective Inspectors of Education, School Principals, Heads of Department, Teachers and School Boards should further oversee the release of Teachers and Unified Staff members to be afforded the opportunity to cast their ballots," said the Ministry's Executive Director, Sanet Steenkaamp said on Wednesday.

"The shifted release of the Unified Staff to cast their ballots must be done in a manner that safeguards the health and well-being of the hostel boarders. The Regional Directors, through Inspectors of Education, School Principals, Heads of Department, Teachers and School Boards must jointly craft a Plan to compensate for the teaching and learning time that will be suspended on 28 and 29 July 2022 to be recovered during the course of the second semester. The possible extension of teaching hours on future designated days could be options to consider," she adds.

She said however the hostel boarders must remain in their hostel and must be supervised by the Unified Staff on a shift basis.

Meanwhile, Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Utoni Nujoma warned the civil servants against the plan to strike.

“The employees in terms of the law have the right to go on strike, however the employer is under no obligation to remunerate any of the employees that partake in the industrial action. It is important to allow our economy to go back to its growth trajectory, because once growth is realized, it also provides needed revenue to address our national budget needs. Undertaking strike actions when there is no avenue to raise funds is not a viable option. The public servants are urged to consider the situation of all affected Namibians. Without being pre-emptive of the outcomes of the ballot exercise scheduled for the 28th – 29th July 2022, we wish to point out that there are consequences for the Government, the public servants and the country at large,” the minister said.

Despite the impasse over a salary increase with , the government has agreed to raise allowances such as housing and transportation, which it estimates will cost an additional N$334 917 365.

According to Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi, the salary increase demands of its workforce will cost the government an additional N$1.2 billion, which it cannot afford.


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Last modified on Thursday, 28 July 2022 18:41

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