Sadtu: Teaching shouldn't be de-unionised

2012-01-24 07:44

Johannesburg - A call for teaching to be declared an essential service and de-unionised is naive, attention-seeking and shows little understanding of the inequalities in education, Sadtu said on Monday.

"We reject such a call. The declaration of teaching as an essential service won’t address the challenges facing education but will instead, cover them up," SA Democratic Teachers' Union general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said.

National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) chairperson Andile Lungisa has reportedly blamed unions for the crisis in the basic education system.

He was quoted as saying poor matric results, particularly in previously disadvantaged schools, could be linked to union activities.

An essential service

"Education must be made an essential service. We must not use the strategies used in factories and industries for education," Lungisa said.

"If we don't deal with unions [in the education system] this country will not succeed and we will be sabotaging future generations."

However, Sadtu said it did not see this as assisting in improving the quality of education, but as eroding victories by the working class.

"We are not being sentimental..., but are stating the facts," said Maluleke

He said Sadtu had always warned about placing blame rather than taking collective responsibility for turning around the situation.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) has condemned Lungisa's comments as "unfortunate" and "baseless".

"This ideological onslaught on teacher unions is premised on the false notion that organised teachers are selfishly concerned about themselves and could not care less about learners," it said.

"This reasoning accords all the blame for our malfunctioning education system to teachers who are organised in unions."

Education standards

The Democratic Alliance Youth welcomed the NYDA's call.

"South African children receive one of the worst standards of education in the world; a fact confirmed by a variety of studies," the DA Youth said.

"There are many reasons for this, but it is certain that nothing can be done to improve the situation without first having all teachers in their classrooms for all the hours that their contracts require them to be there."

It said that according to a study done by independent dispute resolution company Tokiso, Sadtu was responsible for 42% of all workdays lost between 1995 and 2009.

"The consequences of attempting to obtain an education in this environment do indeed... create enormous inconvenience to the lives of learners."

Earlier, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said people should stop politicising education.

"All of us have an important task of ensuring that we leave a legacy that ensures that the African child receives the best education standard possible," he said.

"We therefore need to stop politicising education as the only political issue we need to be concerned about is the learner in the classroom."

Gigaba said people should be concerned with instilling the culture of learning within the black community.

  • Erich - 2012-01-24 08:12

    Who stands to loose the most if teaching becomes an essential service? The union so if I was the union I would also object ... they are just worried about their funds and not about the children. So Sadtu ... give the children a chance in life ........

      Max - 2012-01-24 08:39

      Everyone works for money, so why must teachers work for charity?

  • pws69 - 2012-01-24 08:14

    Let's analyze SADTU dishonesty for a moment: "Sadtu said it did not see this as assisting in improving the quality of education, but as eroding victories by the working class." 53% of the grade one class of 2000 did not even write matric last year. Mmm, I wonder how much of the working class make up this 53%? Some "victory' hey? "Sadtu was responsible for 42% of all workdays lost between 1995 and 2009." Wow, that's really looking after the working class, hey SADTU? Our NAPTOSA majority union quintile 5 school lost ONE working day during the last two strikes (and only then because the principal was being cautious). Yup, quintile 5 is certainly "working class' hey SADTU? Funnily enough, some of the most senior SADTU members in JHB send their kids to our school. Let me relate a true story of how much the "working class" support SADTU. During the last strike a car full of SADTU members, followed by a bus full of SADTU members came to try to shut down our school. The boom guard asked where they were going? To shut down the school they militantly replied. He pulled out his gun, told them his child goes to the school (23% of pupils are on 100% subsidy, so are the actual working class) and if they tried to shut down the school he would shoot them. They turned tail and ran like the yellow bellied scum they are. SADTU power comes from the ANC. They KNOW they are protected and can do what they want. Gigaba & NYDA are just making the right noises. They support SADTU.

  • Twolips - 2012-01-24 08:19

    I also agree with the NYDA. There's no-one more aggressive than a SADTU teacher, or a bunch of them, when it comes to strikes and intimidating those who are not SADTU members and who refuse to strike. Been there, done that.

  • Max - 2012-01-24 08:36

    And for the first time I fully agree with them, Government must come to the table with proper salaries for teachers. This essential services thing is again only hiding Government's inability to deal with its probelms.

      Warwick - 2012-01-24 09:13

      You will be suprised at how much these teachers earn. I deal in this environment. The problem is more than half their salaries go to insurance policies and garnishee orders. Stupid clutzes.

      Clive - 2012-01-24 09:53

      As with most so-called civil servants, teachers are not that poorly paid these days. If you agree with them disrupting learning, then I can only assume that you have no kids who are at the mercy of this bunch.

  • Boris - 2012-01-24 08:46

    the only reason for sadtu and cosatu to reject that is because they will lose membership money, and at the end of the day, that is all that they worry about and the union members are either to dumb or to ignorant to see that. i wonder if they ever stop toy-toying while on a no work no pay strike and ask themselves: are the union leaders also on no work no pay basis during the strike?

  • jucebone - 2012-01-24 09:01

    And what about the nurses (small letters)?

  • Warwick - 2012-01-24 09:11

    SADTU is a joke and the leadership a bunch of filthy lying hipocrates. Most of their kids go to top of the range model c schools or private schools. Buttwipes.

  • Clive - 2012-01-24 09:49

    There's a story about a particularly inactive US president of many years back whose death announcement provoked the response from a humourist of the day: "how do they know?" How does anyone know that SADTU in the E Cape is on a go slow? Seems to me that many SADTU members have been coming and going as they please for many years now, so perhaps actually teaching until 12 o'clock is really an improvement! John (above) is 100% correct: SADTU is very much the main cause of the abysmal level of education in our land, closely followed by government ineptitude. I understand that Trevor Manuel's NDP calls for the relevant ministry to take back control of basic education, but that our brilliant minister has rejected this. If this is so, she should quit because she has no job to do. As for the so-called teachers who would rather attend meetings and toyi-toyi than see to the development of our young people, they might do well to recall the days when teachers - lowly as they were in terms of their salaries - were looked up to in ALL societies. The E Cape rabble, and those of similar ilk in other provinces, have only themselves to blame for the fact that they are now regarded with scorn by parents and children alike. If Vavi is serious about education being the key to this country's future, he must call this bunch to order. Alas, this being the year of its policy and leadership conferences, no one in the ANC will have the backbone to put country first by taking on any Cosatu union.

  • lindaawhelan - 2012-01-24 11:44

    Why is it that we only hear about SADTU when they are whining and striking? We never hear about anything they've done to improve the standards of education in this country ie: their jobs. It's no wonder they are against performance related pay and bonuses.

  • Willem - 2012-01-24 13:18

    I agree with John, SADTU is one of the main causes of poor standards, as they forced the inspectorate out of schools. They also force teachers to sit around and do nothing. Why can teachers have trade union meetings in school time? Remember last year when the teachers were striking, the passe rate improved. Just show you the kids are passing in spite off the teachers and trade union. No there is a lot wrong, but SADUTU is one factor.

  • Chris - 2012-01-26 07:21

    We demand tenuous contracts and precarious employment! for the sake of the children Given the appalling state of South African education, how is this not a political issue???????? Go back to school Gigaba.

  • duncan.phopi - 2013-02-04 20:22

    gigaba u hypocrite, should also stop politicing parastal companies.

  • Emma Sanderson - 2013-11-11 09:12

    Unions in SA exist to make money and exploit workers to any extent necessary to make as much money as possible. The teachers strikes a couple of years ago were absolutely disgusting, I was ashamed to call myself a South African then. We need to get rid of incompetent teachers and disband the unions.

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