Unions want education talks after ANC move

2013-02-05 21:49
Classroom (Picture: <a href=\\\\http://www.shutterstock.com\\\\>Shutterstock</a>)

Classroom (Picture: Shutterstock)

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Johannesburg - Teacher unions have criticised the ANC's plan to have education declared an essential service.

The SA Onderwysersunie (SAOU) said on Tuesday that the proposal would violate the local and international definition of an essential service.

"In terms of the International Labour Organisation, essential services refer to those careers that will result in life or death if labour is withdrawn," SAOU said in a statement.

Education did not fall into this category, it said.

The African National Congress announced after its national executive committee meeting on Monday that it would make sure education was declared an essential service.

"We agree that education is in crisis..., but we can never agree to a political decision that will impact negatively on fundamental rights as contemplated in the Bill of Rights," said the SAOU.

The National Health and Allied Workers' Union said the proposal needed more engagement and less "public bluster".

"We will welcome an opportunity of a sit-down between parties in the education sector and the ANC in order for the proposal to be clearly explained," it said.

It called on all parties to sit down and discuss how to turn around and rehabilitate the education system.

The SA Communist Party said declaring teaching an essential service "by law, would not pass the test".

Spokesperson Malesela Maleka said the concept of "essential service" had to be dropped.

"Concepts are not used in abstract in society, but are an approximation of reality, as it exists," he said.

"Unfortunately, a concept of essential service in terms of our law... means something different."

Read more on:    sacp  |  saou  |  nehawu  |  anc  |  politics  |  education

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