Trade union Solidarity today said that it would still by way of legal assistance support any teacher who may be unfairly affected by the Gauteng Department of Education’s latest staffing redistribution. This follows after the Education Department gave an undertaking that no teacher would be laid off as a result of posts being redundant.
“We welcome the undertaking not to retrench people but will still act as a watchdog to ensure the Department honours its word. We still doubt the original intention of the process though. Should we learn about a member of staff who is unlawfully affected we would immediately proceed with legal action,” Solidarity Chief Executive Dirk Hermann said.
According to Solidarity, dozens of schools have been notified that some of their posts have become redundant. In response to Solidarity’s letter of demand, the Department denied in a letter to Solidarity that it was contravening the Labour Relations Act and invited Solidarity to further talks.
“We always prefer to resolve disputes by means of discussion and will take up the invitation,” Hermann confirmed.
Hermann moreover said the fact that the department stated that it would redeploy teachers whose posts have become redundant, does not give peace of mind, if anything, it gives rise to uneasiness. “Many teachers now face uncertainty about possibly being transferred. Any redistribution without consultation is unlawful and teachers thus affected can also contact us. It also serves as confirmation that some schools will indeed have to cope with less teachers next year. The learner populations of the schools we have consulted with have not shrunken. What it comes down to therefore is that they would have to do the same job with fewer teachers,” Hermann said.
Solidarity launched a special campaign by which the trade union can support people who may be negatively affected. A special webpage, https://solidariteit.co.za/en/teacher-layoffs/ has been created where complaints can be registered.