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Mon Dec 22 13:19:09 SAST 2014

Sadtu: We won't give up rights

AMUKELANI CHAUKE | 11 February, 2013 00:07
Teacher

The South African Democratic Teachers' Union will picket outside the Department of Basic Education's headquarters in Pretoria tomorrow to defend their right to collective bargaining.

About 1000 people are expected to join the protest.

The union wants the department's director-general, Bobby Soobrayan, dismissed for "lack of leadership" in the implementation of a collective agreement, signed at an Education Labour Relations Council in 2011.

The agreement would, according to the union, allow it to negotiate minimum standards so as to reduce teachers' frustrations and minimise labour disputes. The agreement called for, among other things, markers to receive better remuneration, improved school infrastructure, rural allowances for teachers and for part-time teachers to be appointed permanently to vacant posts.

Last week, the ANC announced plans to make education an essential service, but said it was pushing for an "attitudinal" shift rather than legislative amendments.

Yesterday, the teachers' union's general secretary, Mugwena Maluleke, said making education an essential service would undermine collective bargaining.

He claimed that the government wanted to make teaching an essential service so that it could bypass the need to negotiate with teachers' unions.

According to the Labour Relations Act, employees of an "essential service" may not engage in a strike because the disruption endangers the life, health or personal safety of citizens.

Sunday Times reported yesterday that Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga admitted that teachers' right to strike could not be revoked as it was enshrined in the constitution.

Traffic disruptions are expected today when Cosatu goes on its second "drive-slow" protest against e-tolls in Gauteng at 7.30am from Marabastad in Pretoria via the N4 freeway to Johannesburg on the N1, before heading back to Pretoria via the R21.

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