SADTU to celebrate May 1, International Workers' Day

30 April 2019

The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) - the largest union in the education sector is joining millions of workers in South Africa and all over the world in celebrating International Workers' Day, May 1.

May Day serves among others, to celebrate the victories of unions towards ensuring better conditions of service for members, to unite workers and renew the struggle against the exploitation of workers.

As SADTU, we have a lot to celebrate. Today we have legislation that protects the rights of teaching professionals in schools, TVET and CET and support personnel. We have platforms where we sit with the employer to negotiate conditions of employment. We have dispute resolution mechanisms which cover all education workers. This did not come on a silver platter but through the struggles of workers, particularly SADTU members led by the federation, COSATU.

However, as we celebrate this day, we are going to use this platform to make communities aware of the challenges facing all education workers and the sector. Our learning institutions are no longer safe due to violence against teaching professionals and learners.

Grade R teachers, who are supposed to build a strong foundation for education still do not receive the respect due to them in terms of remuneration. Many teachers continue to teach overcrowded classrooms but do their best under such trying circumstances. The CET lecturers have experienced treatment that undermines the image of the profession because the employer got involved in politics instead of looking after workers and working conditions. The struggle is not yet over.

Contrary to political rhetoric by some opposition parties who have waged futile campaigns to have education declared an essential service and therefore take away the right of teachers to strike, we again reiterate that teachers and lecturers are workers and enjoy the rights enshrined in the Labour Relations Act.

Section 23 of the Labour Relations Act gives workers the right to participate in activities and programmes of trade unions and this applies to teachers and lecturers as well.

As an affiliate of COSATU, SADTU will celebrate the day under the COSATU banner.

We expect our members to turn up in their largest numbers in rallies that have been organised by COSATU in all the nine provinces to commemorate this day.

The National Leadership of SADTU are deployed as follows:

President Magope Maphila: Lenyenye Stadium, Tzaneen, Limpopo
Deputy President Mabutho Cele: Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium, Clarement, KwaZulu-Natal
General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: Isaac Wolfson Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: A.R. Abass Stadium, Northern Cape
Vice President (Gender), Dorcus Sekabate: Ladybrand Rugby Stadium, Ladybrand, Free State
Vice President (Education), Veronica Hofmeester: Athlone Stadium, Athlone, Western Cape
Vice President (Sport, Arts and Culture), Gloria Kgoleng: A.R. Abass Stadium, Northern Cape.

SADTU will continue to defend the right to collective bargaining and ensure that as the ILO meet in seven weeks' time, the Centenary Declaration shall address this matter including the just transitions in climate change and technology when it comes to the world of work. The capitalist system that continues to destroy employment in our country must be crushed and workers must have a share in the wealth they create.

Issued by: SADTU Secretariat