Sadtu allows some trial exams

2013-09-05 00:00

MATRICULANTS may have written their life orientation trial examinations yesterday, but they are not yet out of the woods, the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) warned yesterday.

It was thought that Sadtu had suspended its industrial action yesterday, but the union’s provincial chairperson, Mabutho Cele, said they had decided to allow for the national life orientation paper to be written, following a meeting with Education MEC Senzo Mchunu.

“We took a decision after the meeting that the life orientation paper should be written.

“We also want to clarify that we were never on a go-slow — we were on a work-to-rule,” he said. This means that members do no more work than is required by their contracts.

Sadtu provincial secretary Mbuyiseni Mathonsi said the English paper scheduled for yesterday was not written because it fell outside the seven working hours that was the union’s work-to-rule period. “We won’t invigilate the English paper. The paper won’t be written. It’s a provincial paper — it can be rescheduled,” he said.

Cele said their work-to-rule campaign was not over as their provincial executive committee was still to look at the agreement reached with Mchu­nu and decide on the future.

He said the department had acceded to some of their demands, including to pay R346 million in money owed to their members, and upgrading some clerks and administrative staff.

However, they failed to reach agreement on the no work, no pay policy implemented by the department after Sadtu went on strike in 2010. “On this issue, we will be exploring many other avenues, including going to court,” said Cele.

He denied that their members had barricaded district education offices to prevent pupils from writing trial exams.

“There were meetings in some of these offices and those meetings ended up being sit-ins.

“We had instructed the school principals who are our members that they should not go to pick up the exam papers because that is above and beyond their duties, and they do not get compensated for those efforts.”

Cele did not rule out the possibility of the work-to-rule campaign being reinstated next week should the PEC decide that the agreement reached with the department did not adequately address their demands.

“I would not want to pre-empt the decisions of the PEC … it will meet today and discuss the outcome of the meeting, and on Friday we will have mass meetings to inform members about the outcomes.”

Mchunu’s spokesperson Muntu Lukhozi confirmed that some agreements had been reached with Sadtu, “which is why they allowed the children to write [yesterday]”.

She could not comment on how long the truce would last, but said the department was hoping that this would be the end of the matter.

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