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Unions slam teacher strike plan

Johannesburg - Teacher unions have criticised the plan by the ANC government to have education declared an essential service.

The SA Onderwysersunie (SAOU) said on Tuesday that the proposal would violate the current local and international definition of an essential service.

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“In terms of the International Labour Organisation, essential services refer to those careers that will result in life or death if labour is withdrawn,” SAOU said in a statement.

Education did not fall in this category, it said.

The African National Congress announced after its national executive committee meeting on Monday that it would make sure education was declared an essential service.

“We agree that education is in crisis... but we can never agree to a political decision that will impact negatively on fundamental rights as contemplated in the Bill of Rights,” said the SAOU.

The National Health and Allied Workers' Union said the proposal needed more engagement and less “public bluster”.

“We will welcome an opportunity of a sit-down between parties in the education sector and the ANC in order for the proposal to be clearly explained,” it said in a statement.

It called on all parties to sit down and discuss how to turn around and rehabilitate the education system. - Sapa

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