News24

Put the country first - SAHRC

2010-08-19 19:31

Johannesburg - The SA Human Rights Commission on Thursday called on government and the unions to put the interests of the country first.

"While the commission recognises the fact that the right to strike is guaranteed by the constitution and is therefore a legitimate bargaining tool, the commission however calls on both government and the labour unions to place the interest of the country first," commission spokesperson Vincent Moaga said in a statement.

The commission also called on President Jacob Zuma to intervene in the negotiations between the state and the unions.

"The commission is of the view that the president's intervention in the negotiations can hopefully bring about the necessary agreement that has been eluding the parties at the negotiation table," said Moaga.

"This will bring an end to this strike protracted strike."

The commission said the strike would impact badly on this year's matric results.

"Should the strike action continue even further, the country is likely to witnesses yet another schooling season characterised by poor matric results, and school results in general."

Moaga said the strike affected the poor more, because they were the ones negatively affected whenever there is a shutdown of services such as public hospitals and schools.

He said the commission was also concerned about the reports that some public servants were participating in the strike were engaging in acts of violence and intimidation against their colleagues who had chosen to go to work.

"The commission calls on the union leadership to ensure that its members conduct themselves appropriately during the strike," he said.

"It also calls on the law enforcement agencies to deal swiftly with those who break the law because the right to strike does not extend to lawlessness."