Hundreds of Equal Education (EE) members will be picketing outside the Western Cape Department of Education, calling on government to bring their teachers back to schools by offering them an 8.6 percent wage increase and R1000 housing subsidy. It has been more than a week since teacher unions decided to go on strike and the government has not been able to negotiate effectively with public service workers.
Equal Education believes that the demands of workers and teachers are reasonable as outlined in our press release dated 13 August 2010. We call on government to engage seriously and urgently with all public service unions.
Learners are frustrated by the disruption caused by the strike, as it hinders their ability to prepare for their examinations. Learners from public schools have suffered the most and government has not responded to the crises in schools. At a minimum we require government to have an emergency plan for grade 12 learners who are going to write their final examinations in November. We cannot expect these learners to continue to teach themselves or go without teaching. We cannot place our hope on the benevolence of a few that will volunteer to tutor in the absence of teachers. The public education system in poor and low-income areas is under threat of crashing and something must be done.
The Constitution places an obligation on the state to provide every child with basic education and right now the government is failing in its duty to provide learners with education when teaching and learning does not take place.
Equal Education demands that the government implement an emergency plan for the Matric learners so that they can prepare for their final examinations.
We call on government to resolve the wage dispute with public service workers, in particular, teachers. Government must pay teachers what they deserve. We want our teachers back at schools, teaching and paid well.