Teachers’ union threatens to strike during matric exams

2011-11-03 16:06

Final exams for thousands of learners in the Eastern Cape, already disadvantaged by a struggling education system in the province, could be placed in jeopardy as teacher union Sadtu announced its intention to go on strike next week.

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union’s 53 000 teachers in the province will down tools from November 12, affecting the administration of exams, including those of matrics.

Sadtu accuses the Eastern Cape department of education of snubbing conciliation attempts on two crucial disputes: the reinstatement of dismissed temporary teachers, and the process of post provisioning for the next academic year. The latter will affect the number of teachers’ posts the department will make available next year.

The union is also calling for the head of the provincial department, Superintendent General Modidima Mannya.

Sadtu’s provincial secretary, Mncekeleli Ndongeni, said the union received a certificate to strike after conciliation attempts, through the Education Labour Relations Council, failed.

“The department boycotted attempts for conciliation, by not attending or giving input on both these issues at sittings in October,” said Ndongeni.

“(Next Friday) we will gather at Bishop Stadium before marching to the Office of the Premier to hand over our memorandum. It is only after listening to what they have to say when we will decide if we continue the strike,” he said.

In a letter notifying government of the strike, Ndongeni wrote: “Given the speed the Superintendent General moved with illegal preparations for the implementation of (the) post provisioning plan, and the possible irreparable harm that could be suffered by our members, we lodged and declared again another dispute ...”

This year has been tumultuous for learners in the Eastern Cape, who started the year with the cancellation of the feeding scheme and scholar transport programmes, which were resumed after the first term.

Provision of Learner and Teacher Support Materials was also delayed due to alleged attempted bribery in the awarding of the contract last year.

The department is currently under national intervention after cabinet invoked Section 100 (b) of the Constitution in March.Education spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani declined to comment.

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