Personal tragedies which have befallen five Mpumalanga men prompted them to take a 319km journey to .
The National Teachers’ Union (Natu) took the KwaZulu-Natal education department to court last year, after it docked the salaries of 27,000 teachers. It claimed the teachers had not participated in the strike.
The Durban Labour Court ruled in favour of the teachers last year, and the Supreme Court of Appeal recently upheld that ruling.
However, Sadtu provincial secretary Mbuyiseni Mathonsi said on Tuesday that he had evidence that 10,000 Natu members participated in the strike.
“In August 2010, I was at the SABC on an education programme with Natu spokesman Allen Thompson. We were both calling on our members to join the strike,” Mathonsi said.
He said that as principals of schools, they knew Natu members were not at school during the strike.
“It [Natu] claims that it never served any notice for the strike action. The association could not serve notice because it’s not an accredited union,” he said.
Mathonsi alleged that Natu embarked on an unprotected strike and he called for its members to be dismissed as prescribed by the law.
Sadtu planned to strike in March if the department of education did not meet its demands, he said.
“We are going to fight for the reimbursement of our members and we are not going to waste money by going to court, but will go on strike,” he said.
Mathonsi said the union was demanding, among other things, that the education department pay teaching assistants what they were owed, repay its members the money docked from their salaries before end of this week, and withdraw letters suggesting further deductions.
“We call for the department to pay rural allowances to all rural based teachers before 15 February 2012. We call for the department of education as well as finance department to begin to pay for accommodation for all workers in rural areas,” Mathonsi said.