Unam staff on strike

30 October 2018 | Labour

Employees of the University of Namibia (Unam) yesterday morning went on strike in front of the university's Windhoek campus.

Sixty-one per cent of the university's staff voted in favour of a strike to demand a 6% salary increase, backdated to January this year.

Unam management and staff have been unable to agree on an increase. Unam management offered nothing, while the workers were adamant on a 6% raise.

Members of the Namibian National Teachers' Union (Nantu), which represents the staff, and the university management were yesterday still negotiating how to resolve the matter.

Chairperson of the Nantu Unam branch, Muree Tjiueza told Namibian Sun that they are open to negotiate and resolve the matter.

“We are not closed to negotiations, but we are still demanding our 6% increase.”

According to Tjiueza, the university also failed to stick by the rules of the strike which included providing water and portable toilets to the striking staff members.

He says that this was brought to the attention of management and just before 13:00 yesterday one portable toilet and water finally arrived.

Furthermore, rumours were doing the rounds that a student who is also a member of Unam's management was able to obtain access to exam papers.

Tjiueza said that this was also brought to the attention of management who claimed ignorance.

“We take this issue very seriously and if this is the case the exams must be nullified.”

Furthermore Tjiueza said that they were informed that some staff members who voted to strike went back to work.

“These staff were being used to do the work of employees that are striking, which is not allowed. We wanted to go inside to see whether this is true, but were refused entry.”

Unam has assured that exams will not be interrupted because of the strike.

According to a notification placed on Unam's Facebook page, striking employees will not prevent students and non-striking employees from entering Unam centres and campuses.

“Students are informed that examinations will continue as normal.”

In 2008, Unam staff also voted to go on strike, but backed down at the eleventh hour. At that time Unam employees were seeking a 12% salary increase.

ELLANIE SMIT

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