Violent Sadtu strikers suspended

2010-09-07 19:17

Cape Town - Letters of suspension have been served on 13 staff of a Cape Town college following strike violence last week, the Western Cape education department said on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Paddy Attwell said the letters were delivered on Tuesday to staff of the Khayelitsha campus of the False Bay College for Further Education and Training.

Last week strikers forced open the college gates, told staff and students to leave, disrupted exams and burned exam scripts, he said. The disruption had violated a high court interdict obtained by the national department of public service and administration.

The department said at the time that the group included college staff.

Attwell said he understood the SA Democratic Teachers' Union had objected to the suspension letters, and that the college head, Kassie Kruger, had approached the education labour relations council to facilitate discussions with the union on the issue.

He said Kruger had indicated he was determined to press ahead with internal disciplinary charges against the 13.

Attwell said this was separate to any possible police investigation and charges.

Western Cape education minister Donald Grant last week condemned the violence, saying the matter would be referred to the police and charges laid "to ensure that the perpetrators are found and held accountable".

Strike if no pay

Earlier on Tuesday, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) threatened a renewed public sector strike in the Western Cape over the application of the "no work, no pay" principle in the province.

The federation said it would give the Democratic Alliance-controlled provincial government until Thursday to withdraw a "threat of deductions".

Failing this, it would ballot its members for "support strike action".

It was reacting to a letter from Premier Helen Zille to the provincial secretary of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), dated September 2 and faxed to Nehawu on Monday.

In it, Zille said her administration had been directed by the national department of public service and administration in writing to strictly apply the principle to striking employees.

"The (national department) has furthermore warned that departments who do not effect the deductions timeously will have to account for this in terms of the Public Finance Management Act," Zille said.

Comply with directive

"This administration therefore has no option but to comply with the directive."

Cosatu said in a statement on Tuesday that the DA should align itself with strike resolution procedures at national level, where the issue of deductions was "being negotiated".

The province's stand was "clearly an attempt by the DA government to victimise the workers who were on strike", Cosatu said.

"It also demonstrates the deep disregard that the DA has for the constitutional right to strike and for unions.

"The matters affecting the public service which gave rise to the strike are national interest and have to be dealt with sensitively."

Public sector unions announced on Monday that their near month-long pay strike had been suspended pending the outcome of consultations with members and the government over the next 21 days.