Unions want education talks after ANC move

2013-02-05 21:49

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Labour Organisation, essential services refer to those careers that will result in life or death if labour is withdrawn," SAOU said in a statement.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

  • Vishen - 2013-02-05 21:57

    "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Labour Organisation, essential services refer to those careers that will result in life or death if labour is withdrawn," SAOU said in a statement.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 education = no skills = no job = poverty = death!!!

      womba.wonder - 2013-02-05 23:15

      Poverty didn't kill you either. If it did, over a billion people would die of it each year.

  • tlotlo.phele - 2013-02-05 22:06

    SAOU takes the moegoe of the week trophy,Education is the heartbeat of the world

      womba.wonder - 2013-02-06 07:31

      It's not life-or-death.

      stephanie.sutherland41 - 2013-02-06 07:43

      @tlotlo = Agreed, and for many, an education can be the difference between starving or surviving, thus it is a life or death service. The Union just doesn't want to have its strike options limited :)

      neville.watson.31 - 2013-02-06 10:40

      Womba - It is life or death for our economy. Tell a matric pupil whose teachers are on strike that it is not life or death, you might just discover what life or death really means.

  • Strikeback - 2013-02-05 22:07

    Esucation is an essential service. If people are not educated, they bexome politicians and make stupid, uneducated decisions that lead people into sittuations of poverty and death by starvation. The government has seen that is cost them R10m just to feed the farmworkers during their strike. They cannot afford to feed all the teachers while they strike.

  • Blackpoison - 2013-02-05 22:14

    For once I agree with the ANC. Striking teachers are a disgrace.

      womba.wonder - 2013-02-05 23:21

      They strike because their paymasters refuse to see reason any other way first.

      rudi.debeer.5 - 2013-02-06 06:59

      The way the ANC handles teachers and salary negotiations is a disgrace.

  • qhama.bona - 2013-02-05 22:20

    Usurping the rights for teachers to strike is not the right way to go about solving the numerous ills in our education system. Admittedly strikes from teachers are not desirable but as the SACP and SAOU noted, that this law won't stand the test of time from a constitutional point of view. The right to strike should not be taken away from teachers because to be fair to them their profession does not remunerate them adequately. Of course there are those teachers who do not add value by doing unsavoury things that drag down the name of many competent and passionate teachers. Instead what government should look to do is to support teachers by giving them the necessary tools to educate our children. In today's times it is of paramount importance for schools to have the latest technological equipment. But you realise that most township and rural schools do not have such resources. That is not the fault of teachers, so government has to give teachers a conducive environment if they want to see our education improve. If teachers had all these issues resolved and were paid decent salaries (according to their performance) then we wouldn't see them embarking in any kind of industrial action. How can teachers be prepared to deliver when government and it's service providers cannot deliver textbooks for a whole year? I'm not saying teachers are saints and that they shouldn't be scrutinized. However we must be fair as to how we assess because to be honest they work in difficult conditions.

  • altusvanzyl - 2013-02-05 22:21

    Wow but they strike if schools close down in the western cape. But now they don't agree its a essential service? Dafuq? I agree with the ANC on this one.

  • sipho.spele - 2013-02-05 23:05

    poor leadership, this is poorly an approach of thou shall do as i say. why not consult, form a task group and worksohop the proposal. oh no our democracy

      womba.wonder - 2013-02-05 23:23

      Form yet another yakkity-yak "task team"? Rather use the Nike slogan: Just Do It.

  • womba.wonder - 2013-02-05 23:13

    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. And they are 100% right, even if they are a mainly traditionalist white Afrikaans teacher union. Striking is a fundamental democratic right.

      herman.letlalo - 2013-02-06 01:53

      would you say the same if it was sadtu that said it? Just wondering

      womba.wonder - 2013-02-06 03:50

      Of course. Principles above personalities.

  • drcpot - 2013-02-05 23:58

    OOOOh my word, this is exactly why education should be declared an essential service. This country has no future if no one can think one step further than today. I am flabbergasted by the idiots we permit (incl Zuma) to lead our country today, this is total shortsighted madness direct from the stone age!

  • Erna - 2013-02-05 23:59

    Don't know why everyone is jumping up and down about this. The anc has no intention of legalising this. Just talk as usual. Unless teaching is declared an essential service legally there is nothing anyone can do if teachers strike.

  • herman.letlalo - 2013-02-06 02:00

    I'm dumbstruck by the comments. Yooooohhhhhh, N24 people supporting a strike, let alone of teachers, well lets all be honest and say it, would you have said the same if it was cosatu? Just a day ago cosatu was dissenting and comments were of a very different tune, it seems the only honest people are those that didn't comment today, hence the few number of comments. I give up the rainbow pipedream

  • stanley.mabunda.5 - 2013-02-06 05:59

    teachers diserve better pay

  • Zenande Carly Dlunge-Madolo - 2013-02-06 06:54

    Now I've heard it all. They want to declare teaching an essential service yet they fail to solve problems that teachers face on daily basis. The ANC simply does not know how to intervene when it really counts I am a teacher in the eastern cape and this province suffers serious problems like teacher shortages bt no one wants to do anything about that for example I'm the only qualified maths and science teacher, I was assisted by a temporary educator whose service were terminated in December for no valid reason I am now on maternity leave so those learners will go for four months without being taught because the government also refuse to employ substitute educators.

  • uzziphathele.tshabalala - 2013-02-06 06:56

    This is between Teachers and ANC,as south africans we can comment about this bt if teachers not happy about it they must seat down and talk,if they don't want the move they don't want it,time will tell if they want the move or not....

      womba.wonder - 2013-02-06 07:33


  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2013-02-06 09:18

    Well of course they are angry. I mean what can be nicer than toi-toing when you are suppose to be standing in front of a school class and do what you get paid for.

  • mbambo.shi - 2013-02-06 09:31

    The END of a Gravy Train for COSATU and SADTU. The same feeling the bloody Medical Aid Insurance Companies felt when Aaron Motswaledi introduced the NHI to be rolled through out the rest of our country. The government must also make it a crime for motorists to have cash in their cars. You'll see traffic and police officers mourning because there won't be bribes and corruptions on our roads.

  • kuno.tschumi.5 - 2013-02-06 11:09

    if the unions would tell their members to do the job and teach the kids we would not have such a mess in this country. Once just for once do your job and stop jumping up and down and behaving like little spoiled brats. The youth of this country is our future and you unionists do everything to destroy it. What a disgrace if it has to come to the point that education needs to be declared an essential service.

  • michael.moolman.10 - 2013-02-06 11:31

    Did I hear correctly the commenst made by the chaiman of SASCOC this morning (on TV2 news)? 'There is no correlation between education and a persons standard of living!'

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