Don't punish teachers, Cosatu warns

2013-04-24 18:49
Cosatu logo (Picture: Sapa)

Cosatu logo (Picture: Sapa)

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Sadtu storms Union Buildings

2013-04-24 17:30

Police struggled to control thousands of striking union members at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Watch protesters push through police barriers in an attempt to enter the buildings. WATCH

Pretoria - Cosatu warned Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Wednesday not to take action against protesting teachers.

"We are calling for the minister not to even think of that. There is fire already. Don’t pour oil on the fire," Congress of SA Trade Unions president Sidumo Dlamini told striking SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) members at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

"What we want to see tomorrow is an engagement with Sadtu, saying 'how do we fix the problems?’ As the leadership of Cosatu, we are saying to you [protesters], your federation is one federation."

He told the protesters Cosatu was undergoing "a painful phase".

"Please do not listen, you do not even want to hear by reading what the newspapers are saying about your Cosatu. I want to assure you that it is not about individuals," he said.

Cosatu affiliates are reportedly divided over accusations of corruption against Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, which are being probed, and which he has denied.

Dlamini has accused Corruption Watch, which has Vavi on its board, of interfering in union matters.

On Wednesday, Dlamini said Cosatu supported calls for the resignations of Motshekga and her director general Bobby Soobrayan.

"We call upon the President [Jacob Zuma] to firstly recall her, then and have a serious discussion with her after sending her elsewhere," Dlamini said.

"We are calling for the president to fire that DG. The education of our children cannot be held to ransom by two individuals. This march today is about quality education in our country."

Thousands of teachers marched from Marabastad, on the outskirts of Pretoria, to the Union Buildings on Wednesday.

"The marches are meant to increase the pressure on... [Motshekga and Soobrayan] to resign from their... positions, in defence of collective bargaining and promotion of quality public education," Sadtu said in a statement.

Sadtu members had been on a national go-slow since pupils returned from the Easter holiday.

The department of basic education said teachers who joined the protest march would face disciplinary action and that the no-work, no-pay rule would apply.

Read more on:    sadtu  |  cosatu  |  jacob zuma  |  angie motshekga  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  bobby soobrayan  |  sidumo dlamini  |  strikes  |  education

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