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Media Release

13 June, 2007

Officials and teachers on strike - salary deductions

Statement by Ronald B Swartz, Superintendent-General, Western Cape Education Department

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) will from this week apply the "no work, no pay" rule and deduct from the salaries of all teachers on strike, as well as officials in offices and schools.

The national Department of Education has suggested that deductions be made from all unionized officials and teachers whose unions voted in favour of participation in the strike. This was done primarily because a number of provinces found it difficult to monitor and collate accurate information about individuals who participated in the strike action, mainly because of the reported disruptive, threatening and violent behaviour of many strikers.

However, the WCED has a reliable monitoring and information collation process in place, and is therefore in a position to work on accurate information about participants in the strike action.

We are applying the “no-work, no-pay” principle with as accurate information as possible. Unlike in the past, the deductions will not be spread over a few months, but will be effected in the month of the strike, or at the very least, in the month following the strike.

As in the past, those teachers who have not been on strike, and whose names were submitted as having been on strike, will have to prove that they were not on strike. Among others, they will have to submit prove in writing that they were actually on duty, or tried to report for duty, and these claims will have to be supported by an official authority like the principal of the school.

This is not a new process, and most teachers who have been involved in strike action before (whether as participants or observers), are aware of the procedures to follow, or can approach their principals or their unions for advice in this regard.

The WCED pays approximately R443m per month in salaries alone for teachers, but have not quite completed the process of deductions for this month, and so will only be able to calculate the amount at a later stage. While the deductions can come to a fairly large sum, we will have to await the guidelines from Treasury to determine how these “savings” will be utilized.

On average, participation rates ranged from 19.8% on 25 May to 46.7% on 1 June. This represents about 9% for public servants, and about 30% for teachers. The participation rates have declined steadily in the last few days of the strike.

However, the impact of this small participation rate has been widely felt, due largely to what is reported as continued attempts by strikers to force no-strikers to participate. This has taken the form of picketing of non-striking schools, violent disruption of examinations and normal school programmes, reported threats against teachers and support staff, to the actual threats of violence by gangsters against teachers, as we saw in the case of Parklands Primary School.

We have been able to positively identify those teachers who have been involved in the worst violations, such as the violent disruption of learner’s examinations, and will be taking the necessary disciplinary steps against them once we have fully investigated the incident.

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi:  082 550 3938, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za.

Issued by:
Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689

Visit our website: http://wced.wcape.gov.za

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