Uneven strike action

PARTICIPATION in today’s general strike by members of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), has been “uneven”, according to Education Minister Kader Asmal’s spokesperson, Bheki Khumalo.

According to preliminary figures supplied by Khumalo, 70% of all teachers in Gauteng were at school, whereas 80% of educators in Mpumalanga had responded to the call to stay away from work today. Khumalo also said that thirty key urban areas in the Northern Province reported 100% attendance, while teachers in the Northern Cape had appeared reluctant to join the strike because of a ‘no work, no pay’ policy being enforced by the department.

SADTU Media Spokesperson Hassan Lorgat said it was “difficult to get a picture of the success of the strike at this stage.” He predicted that about 50% of SADTU’s 220 000 members intended to join today’s strike.

A spot check at Cape Flats schools by Asmal this morning confirmed the “unevenness” of the situation. Most teachers at Langa High School arrived to sign the register this morning but had then departed by ten o’clock. Their aim was to apparently avoid the ‘no work, no pay’ clause. Khumalo stated that these teachers would only be paid for the two hours they were at school.

At Silverstream Senior Secondary School in gang-ravaged Manenberg, where the majority of staff are SADTU members, no teachers decided to join the strike. They expressed fears for the safety of their students after a recent upsurge in local gang-related violence. At Surrey Estate Primary School in Athlone, another school visited by the Minister, all teachers were at school.

—The Teacher/Mail & Guardian, May 10, 2000.

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