UNAM says it has no money for salary increments
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05 November 2018 Author   Eliaser Ndeyanale

Management at the University of Namibia remained adamant on Thursday that the country’s premier institute of higher learning cannot afford to pay a six percent salary increment to its striking employees. Management at the University of Namibia remained adamant on Thursday that the country’s premier institute of higher learning cannot afford to pay a six percent salary increment to its striking employees. 

Close to a thousand striking University of Namibia (UNAM) employees have vowed to continue with their industrial action until January next year or such a time that their demands have been met. 
The employees, including lecturers and supervisors, are demanding a 6 percent salary increase backdated to January this year, but management has so far refused to yield to their demands.
UNAM’s Director for Communications and Marketing, Edwin Tjiramba, told the Windhoek Observer on Thursday that the university has made it clear to its employees that it cannot afford an increment. 
Tjiramba said the current economic downturn has affected all industries, and academia is no exception. Striking lecturers vowed on Wednesday not to mark any examination papers if their demands are not met.
Tjiramba said the university cannot compel striking employees to mark the exam papers or perform any other duties, but added that a large contingent of academics was at work marking their scripts.  
“UNAM will continue to monitor the situation and will take appropriate action if and when necessary,” he said.  
One of the striking workers, Ndeshi Namupala, threatened that the strike will go on until January next year if they do not get what they want. 
“We are not going to be intimidated, our strike is legal. If our demands are not met we will be here until 14 December, then we go on holiday as the university closes, but we will come back here in January next year. We will not accept anything less than six percent. We shall not be divided by anyone,” she said.
Another striking employee, Rudolf Kamerika, said the strike will continue indefinitely if the university refuses to meet their demands.
Kamerika said anything less than six percent will not improve the life of workers whom he said have endured poverty and slave wages.
“Please keep in mind that as long as we need our demands to be met, we have to continue. This strike is not going to take five days, but I am not promising anything.”
The workers also expressed their unhappiness with management for denying them access to the university. 
They claimed that the university hired students and security guards to invigilate ongoing exams, in violation of strike rules. 
“We want to see who is invigilating exams because we are on strike. This is really frustrating all of us. 
“We asked management that we want to address the issue of access because we want to see who is doing our job there,” he told university employees camping in small tents outside the main campus in Windhoek on Wednesday.

WINDHOEK OBSERVER

The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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