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Sadtu opposed to bid to declare teaching an essential service

The Democratic Alliance wants some school teachers and key staffers declared essential.

Picture: freeimages.com

CAPE TOWN - South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) will oppose any bid to have teaching declared an essential service.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants certain teachers in schools to be declared essential services staff to ensure the safety of learners.

The Essential Services Commission is holding hearings in the Western Cape on Monday.

The DA earlier this month urged Sadtu to back its bid to have a minimum service level declared for key school staff by the commission.

But the union has accused the DA of playing politics.

Sadtu says declaring education an essential service would go against International Labour Organisation rules and the Labour Relations Act, which does not define teachers as essential staff.

Sadtu spokesperson Nomusa Cembi: "We do not support that bid and we believe it is all politicking from the DA."

The union has already made submissions opposing the move in the Eastern Cape, Free State and Gauteng.

MINIMUM PRESENCE OF SCHOOL STAFF

The party has on Monday made submissions to the Essential Services Commission in a bid to have a minimum service level declared for key school staff by the commission.

The Sadtu has made a submission opposing any bid to have teaching declared an essential service as it goes against international labour conventions.

The union's Western Cape secretary Jonovan Rustin says the DA's bid is nothing but an election ploy.

“We first want to say that it's been an ongoing thing by the DA, they have been pushing this particular matter for a long time. And it is our view that it’s an electioneering ploy.”

But the DA's shadow education minister Nomsa Marchesi has dismissed this, saying there should be a minimum presence of school staff during school hours to ensure learner safety.

“We are basically looking at not declaring the entire sector as an essential service, we are not saying that. We are saying there has to be a minimum level whereby a number of staff become [an] essential service.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)