12 February 2019

South Africa: DBE Concerned Over Looming Strike

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has expressed concern at the looming nationwide strike that is set to take place on Wednesday.

With the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) backing the strike, DBE said it is extremely concerning that schools face the real threat of disruption.

"It is extremely concerning that schools face the real threat of disruption. We hope it will not be the case because teachers know the practical implications of halting teaching and learning.

"We hope the situation will be resolved without impacting negatively on school activities. We urge those protesting to do so without disrupting schools," said department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.

The demands of the strike, which will be led by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), include the halting of retrenchments, retention of current jobs and creation of new job opportunities, among others.

In a statement pledging its support, SADTU said it will champion the fight against oversized classrooms and school safety at the nationwide strike.

"In the education sector, our members continue to teach in overcrowded classrooms or mass meetings due to post provisioning norms that create fewer teaching posts.

"We will use the march to call for increased safety measures in our schools and to urge communities as well as government to protect them," said the teacher's union.

According to SADTU, the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) has issued COSATU with a strike certificate in terms of Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act.

"We would like to assure our members and all workers in general that the strike is protected. Therefore, workers are legally protected to go on strike on the 13th [of February]," said SADTU.

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