Sadtu says no to schooling today

Sne Masuku and Sapa

Sne Masuku and Sapa

The government and public service union negotiators were locked in separate caucuses yesterday, discussing proposals to end the public service wage dispute.

The parties were supposed to start a joint discussion at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council in Pretoria at 2pm.

Instead, they were meeting separately to discuss developments at the weekend.

"I think it is a positive sign the parties are engaged in very serious discussions around proposals that were put forward and they are considering their options," said independent mediator Meshack Ravuku.

It is understood that some of the discussions centre on proposals by a technical task team - consisting of the mediators, the government and labour negotiators - on minimum service agreements and suggestions on how to deal with dismissed workers and the no work, no pay rule.

Unions have yet to indicate whether they will agree to the government's revised pay package proposal tabled on Thursday.

This includes a general salary increase of 7,25percent for this year.

Teachers' union Sadtu in KwaZulu-Natal has warned that blood would be spilt should principals reopen schools today.

The warning follows the provincial MEC for education Ina Cronje's appeal to principals to reopen schools from today.

Sadtu provincial spokesman Sipho Nkosi yesterday warned principals not to be used by the Department of Education as human shields.

"Should the schools reopen today, the principals responsible for this would meet the angry mob of Sadtu members face to face," said Nkosi.

He said the department should recognise the risk that pupils would be exposed to by calling them back to classes while the strike is still on. Nkosi said should the schools reopen the history of the 1970s would be repeated.

Meanwhile Education Minister Naledi Pandor will hold a day-long meeting with Cronje today.

While nobody was willing to reveal what was on the table, it is believed that the discussions were about the mid-year examinations .

Provinces including Eastern Cape and Limpopo have already announced they will postpone examinations until the third term. It is also expected that schools will not close for the June winter holidays.