KEETMANSHOOP: Over 30 teachers from eight Government schools here took to the streets on Wednesday, joining their colleagues in other regions with demands for speedy salary and other benefit increases.
The strike started in the Khomas Region late last week when teachers became impatient that the salary and other benefits’ negotiations, which commenced between the Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) and Government in October last year already, are taking too long to conclude.
Teachers from primary and secondary schools such as Mina Sachs, Suiderlig, P.K De Villiers, Don Bosco, J.A Nel and Kronlein in the Karas Region took part in the march here.
The Primary School of Keetmanshoop (PSK) is the only school out of nine Government schools in the region that was not represented in the marching group.
Speaking to Nampa during the demonstration, the spokesperson of the group, Johannes Swartbooi said lessons at all participating schools were halted.
“We support the rest of the teachers who are on strike. What they are saying is true, and we will stand together until our demands are met. Why should we let other teachers strike alone?”, Swartbooi, who is a teacher at the P.K De Villiers Secondary School, asked.
The Deputy Director of Education in the Karas Region, Celi Mostert, responded on Wednesday that the striking teachers did not consult her office about the action.
Mostert noted that the Minister of Education, Dr Abraham Iyambo said the strike is illegal, and that is the line her office follows.
Teachers from the Hardap, Erongo, Omaheke, Karas, Caprivi and Otjozondjupa Regions are also now participating in the strike that is considered illegal by Nantu.
The Teachers’ Union of Namibia (TUN) is, however, in support of the strike, and encouraged teachers to continue withholding labour.
The Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), Joel Kaapanda, as Government representative on Tuesday ordered striking teachers to return to work without delay to avoid Government taking action against them.
Premier Nahas Angula on Monday also stated that Government is aware and sympathetic towards its employees’ concerns about improved salaries and other benefits, and that these concerns are being addressed.