Home South African Teachers accuse government of using economic challenges to blackmail them

Teachers accuse government of using economic challenges to blackmail them

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Public servants are unhappy after the Constitutional Court threw out their attempt to enforce the salary agreement that was due for implementation in 2020.

Cosatu members protest in 2020 after the government failed to implement salary increases. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

COSATU affiliate, the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), believes Monday’s Constitutional Court ruling dismissing public servants’ application to enforce the 2020 salary increases amounts to using the country’s economic challenges to blackmail government employees.

In a unanimous judgment, Acting Justice Mjabuliseni Madondo dismissed public sector unions’ bid to force the government to implement the wage hikes that were due in 2020.

”This judgment is a sad and dangerous precedence. One cannot but imagine what the heartless private employers will do to emulate this example. It will further demoralise public servants and is a big hurdle on our way towards building a developmental state,” Sadtu said.

According to the union, the judgment undermines and destroys collective bargaining – a key pillar in democracy and peace – and will inevitably promote anarchy, vigilantism, and populism.

”This is an open attack on unions akin to union bashing.“

Sadtu has promised to return the favour by engaging in a war to fight for its members’ rights and benefits.

“As the union is about to embark on a mandate seeking process for the 2022 round of negotiations, we are going to do our best to ensure that collective bargaining – which people lost life and limb for it to be recognised to build labour peace – is respected,” Sadtu said.

It also accused the government of attempting to introduce austerity measures on public spending that are critical for a developmental state through the back-door.

”Unfortunately, public servants that have been at the forefront in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic are now at the receiving end of this stance by their own government.

”The employer may have won the battle but not the war. We will fight hard to ensure our gains are not reversed. We say no to the exploitation of public servants. We cannot be the new professional slaves,” Sadtu added.

Political Bureau

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