Strike: Education staff defiant

2009-04-28 00:00

THE strike action by office-based employees of the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department is far from over.

This was confirmed by the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) yesterday, despite a labour court ruling on Friday restraining Sadtu and its members from engaging in or continuing with what has been termed an unprotected strike.

On Friday, Education superintendent-general, Cassius Lubisi, said the strike action was illegal in terms of Section 64 of the Labour Relations Act. He said failure by employees to report to work would be tantamount to a breach of conditions and terms of employment.

According to Lubisi, the urgent court order instructs Sadtu to inform its members of the ruling and also interdicts and restrains the striking workers from impeding access within the department premises.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday morning, however, Sadtu spokesman K.K. Nkosi said the union had not received any notice of Friday’s court order.

Nonetheless, he said the union was strongly opposed to this and would be prepared to challenge it in court since proper channels were followed in connection with the staging of the strike.

He said the department had been given notices of the strike for the Pietermaritzburg-based staff, which was later followed by a notice for other districts and schools.

“The Department of Education is always complaining about not having money, but they have money to waste on unnecessary expenses when they should be paying [the department employed] clerks their money,” stated Nkosi.

He said the Durban and Pietermaritzburg service centres continued striking yesterday and added that the strike is likely to bring services to a standstill as things would be more intense today with Port Shepstone, Kokstad, the Umlazi and Ilembe districts joining the strike.

“We are still mobilising teachers, but all the clerks and cleaning staff in schools will join in tomorrow because they are owed money by the department.”

However, department spokeswoman Mbali Thusi said services are still being rendered in their service centres.

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