Many would agree that the threat of another strike by teachers, following last year's damaging public service strike, hardly promises an auspicious start for this year's schooling.
Not that schools invariably begin the year without hassles anyway - late supply of books being one logistical nightmare.
Add to this the threat by the South African Democratic Teachers Union's Gauteng branch to launch a strike in protest against the education department's decision to lift the suspension of chief director of districts, Thami Mali.
We're perturbed not only by the timing of the threat but also that it is being made in the first place without regard for dialogue.
For dialogue is much more persuasive than acting like a bull in a china shop.