Outcry over move to classify education an essential service
Teachers unions and Equal Education say it will take away teachers’ right to strike and won’t solve any of the real problems facing education
The government can classify basic education as an essential service once every school has a laboratory‚ library and a teacher in every classroom. That is the view of National Teachers Union (Natu) deputy president Allen Thompson, who believes the government is trying to silence teachers and to keep itself busy by investigating if basic education should be deemed an essential service. On June 15‚ the Department of Labour’s Essential Services Committee gazetted a notice to announce it was looking into classifying basic education as an essential service under the Labour Relations Act (LRA).
The LRA defines an essential service as "a service the interruption of which endangers the life‚ personal safety or health of the whole or any part of the population". Education movement Equal Education (EE) is opposed to this‚ because government can then prohibit teachers from striking. EE added that the move by government would not solve the problems of poor infrastructure‚ insufficient reso...