Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
THE South African Democratic Teachers Union has forged ahead in its quest to elbow other teachers unions out of the Education Labour Relations Council.
The 240 000-member union has written a letter to the ELRC proposing that unions with a memberships under 100 000 should not be allowed to participate in the bargaining council.
This is part of a Cosatu resolution of "one sector, one union" seeking to limit disintegration in labour unions.
Sadtu president Thobile Ntola and general secretary Mugwena Maluleke have been engaged in merger talks with smaller unions in a bid to increase Sadtu's muscle at the bargaining council.
Sadtu is already the most influential in SA.
DA leader Helen Zille recently accused Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga of treating Sadtu members with kid gloves.
Zille said Sadtu was to blame for the low matric pass rates.
"Most teachers in failing schools are Sadtu members," Zille said.
"At other schools teachers tend, by and large, to belong to other unions such as the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) or the Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU)."
If adopted the Sadtu proposal could close down the smaller unions that include Naptosa and the SAOU, which negotiate as a coalition called the Combined Teacher Union at the bargaining council.
The new coalition has a combined force of 108 000 members.
Ntola told the Financial Mail the bid was meant to unite teacher unions, not divide them.
"One way to do this would be to raise the threshold so that organisations that fall below it will be put out of the bargaining chamber.
"They will have to look to other unions for cooperation."
Ntola advised the smaller unions to join Sadtu.
"If they are pushed ou, they will have other rights, but not organisational rights," he said.
The Sadtu proposal suggests that a proliferation of unions will promote industrial disharmony.
Yesterday the DA called on Motshekga to reject Sadtu's proposal.
"Sadtu's record of irresponsible strikes and protection of the worst teacher shows that if it gets undisputed power to represent teachers, it will push our teetering system over the cliff of total failure.
"Motshekga should stand up to Sadtu's bullying and she should reject this proposal."