Teachers in Namibia will vote on whether to go on strike on Tuesday after declaring an unresolved dispute in which the unions were demanding an 8-percent salary increase instead of the 5 percent the government has offered.

In a speech delivered on Monday, Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said the government can only raise teachers’ salaries by 7 percent in 2017.

Hanse-Himarwa said a strike action by teachers at the time of the year would be disastrous for the pupils who are supposed to attend examinations.

“It is exam period now and as such the examination session will be disrupted and our learners will be traumatized psychologically and further endure irreversible disadvantages,” she said.

The government, she said, allocates substantial portion of the national budget to the education sector and that currently there was no money.

According to Hanse-Himarawa, the education ministry was conducting an external review of its entire financial system in order to reprioritize and optimize the available funds.

Prime Minister Saara Kuungogelwa-Amadhila last week said the government does not have money for salary increases apart from the 5 percent awarded across the board.

Kuungogelwa-Amadhila also said if teachers go on strike, the government will apply the “no work, no pay” policy. Enditem