Equal Education (EE) welcomes the suspension of the strike and congratulates the 1.3 million public sector workers on their victory in the recent strike. After government unilaterally signed the offer of a 7% increase and R700 housing subsidy it is highly significant that the vitality of the strike forced a new offer of 7.5% and R800.
EE supported the strike not only due to the growing inequality locally and globally, but because attracting new young teachers into the profession, paying them well, and providing attractive working conditions is probably the biggest single challenge in South African education.
We note also the steps forward on equalisation of medical aid, and government finally agreeing to develop a minimum service agreement. It must be remembered by everyone angry about the strike's impact on health services that the lack of a minimum service agreement is government's failure.
While congratulating the millions of workers who acted in solidarity, working-class organisations must call to order the few who undermined the strike through hooliganism and intimidation. In future we ask COSATU to brief social movements and civil society on issues such as supplementary tutoring for matrics during periods of strike.
The strike was crippling in many areas, particularly education. Up to and including today there has been absolutely no school in Khayelitsha and other townships. During the strike EE picketed the Western Cape Education Department to urge government to make a better offer to teachers and end the unnecessarily prolonged strike.
Now a number of urgent tasks present themselves. The EE Western Cape
Youth Leadership Committee has met and makes the following demands:
1. A revised matric Preliminary Exam timetable as soon as possible.
2. An additional week for matrics to prepare for exams.
3. A plan to catch up all the work and time missed.
The above cannot be left to individual schools. It is the collective responsibility of government, unions and organisations such as Equal Education. We are willing to provide any support necessary.
For more information contact:
Yoliswa Dwane at 021 387 0022 or Wande@equaleducation.org.za
Klaas at 072 425 9732 or Karabo@equaleducation.org.za