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Motshekga: Respect non-strikers

2010-08-18 22:15

Johannesburg - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Wednesday urged striking teachers to respect their colleagues who chose not to get involved in the nationwide strike.

"I have been very concerned by recent reports of intimidation, damage to public property and the forceful disruption of normal schooling by striking teachers, especially in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal," she said in a statement.

"I want to caution these members against such actions and am appealing to teacher unions to act decisively to discipline these members."

She said the police and the government would act harshly against those found guilty of such offences.

Strike monitoring teams, consisting of district and provincial officials, would operate in all districts.

"The monitoring teams will be in constant contact with the local police stations to ensure that we are able to respond speedily to any eventuality.

"We recognise the constitutional right of all workers, including teachers, to strike.

"This is a protected strike and teachers can freely choose to join the industrial action without fear of dismissal or victimisation by the state.

"However, we call on all striking teachers who will be exercising their right to strike to respect the rights of those who decide not to join the industrial action."

Motshekga said the indefinite strike was a "major blow" to the education sector and the principle of no work, no pay would apply.

Deductions would be made at the end of the strike.

All schools would remain open, and the department had taken measures to mitigate the impact on learning and teaching.

On Wednesday members of Congress of SA Trade Unions-affiliated unions, including the SA Democratic Teacher's Union and the National Health and Allied Workers' Union, and the Independent Labour Caucus went on strike.

The Public Servants' Association (PSA) will join the strike on Thursday.