Relieved University of Namibia (UNAM) staff members will be smiling all the way to the bank after management approved a seven percent salary increase effective August 15 and backdated to January 2017.
Earlier this year, UNAM froze recruitment of new employees, part-time staff, filling of any general vacancies and the salary adjustments for 2017, citing financial and cash flow challenges.
UNAM staff members staged a protest march and petitioned Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lazarus Hangula detailing their complaints on 28 June 2017.
The Windhoek Observer has seen contents of an e-mail from the Human Resource Director Reginald Izaks, and co-signed by union representatives Barbara van der Westhuisen and Muree Tjueza, informing staff members last Friday that the university had reached an agreement with Namibia Public Worker’s Union and Namibia National Teachers’ Union to implement the salary increment for 2017.
“In terms of the agreement, a seven percent salary increase shall be implemented on 15 August 2017 backdated to 1 January 2017.
“UNAM and the two unions wish to express their profound gratitude to all staff for the patience exercised while both parties have tirelessly committed themselves to reaching this mutually beneficial outcome,” the email read.
UNAM had previously refused to effect the seven percent increment, as a cost-saving measure prompted by the current national economic challenges.
Senior staff members at the university claim that it had suspended all its internally-funded travels, conferences and staff-related expenses to cut costs in line with a directive from the Ministry of Finance.
For the past three years, UNAM has received a budget allocation of N$1,1 billion per year to deliver services to its learners. However, the university was only allocated N$600 million to provide high quality services to 25,000 students registered for the 2017 academic year.
UNAM’s Public Relations Officer, Simon Namesho, confirmed the salary increase, when contacted for comment.
“Yes, that’s correct. There have been long negotiations between the parties about the matter, but it was concluded sometime last week, and it will be effective as from 15 August,” Namesho said.