In yesterday’s Portfolio Committee on Labour, the Chairperson of the Essential Services Commission, A. Luvuyo Bono, revealed that the Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, was g-armed into dropping her request for school principals to be declared an “essential service” in terms of the Essential Services Act.
In terms of the initial Labour Relations Amendment Bill, the Minister had requested a clause that would change the status of school principals to that of an “essential service”. This would result in principals not being allowed to go on strike. It now transpires that Nedlac g-armed the minister into removing that request.
In terms of the ILO Convention on Essential Services, to which South Africa is a signatory, principals may be categorised as an essential service as “principals exercise authority on behalf of the state”. The DA has previously called for both teachers and principals to be declared an “essential service” in terms of the Essential Services Act.
It is simply unacceptable that Nedlac, an aisory body that reports to, and is under the authority of the Minister, can wholly dictate the contents of the Amendment Bill.
I will today be writing to the Minister of Labour, requesting she initiate the process of changing the status of school principals to that of an “essential service” by instructing the Essential Services Committee to investigate limiting the right to strike for school principals.
For it to be legal to abandon children as young as 6 years old while teachers and principals go out to strike is immoral and unacceptable.
Shadow Minister of Labour
Source : Democratic Alliance