Fired workers await fate

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

More than 200 striking workers from the department of education in KwaZulu-Natal were dismissed on the eve of Workers Day after they failed to heed a call to return to work.

This after South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) members comprising administrative workers and cleaners embarked on a week-long strike.

They are demanding that the department address their grievances, ranging from corruption, nepotism and problems with performance bonuses.

But the department went to the labour court and obtained an interdict declaring the strike illegal.

The court order prohibited the workers from continuing with the strike in many centres such as Pinetown and Umgungundlovu.

The sacked workers' jobs are expected to be filled after the department advertised them.

Superintendent-general Cassius Lubisi said the department had completed the dismissal of the 230 employees who had continued with the unprotected strike despite a strong warning by education MEC Ina Cronje that the strike was illegal.

He said dismissal letters had been completed and were being delivered.

"Dismissal letters will be sent to their supervisors and if their supervisors encounter difficulty in locating them we will send the letters to the employee's physical address.

"The posts will be advertised and they will be expected to apply like everyone else," Lubisi said.

Attempts by Cronje to force workers affiliated to Sadtu to return to work failed last week.

She had appealed to the striking workers to return to work.

Provincial Sadtu chairperson Chris Ndlela said members should remain calm since talks continue.

Sadtu deputy general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said the union was unhappy that the members were dismissed on the eve of Workers Day.

"Sadtu national leadership is also part of discussions to resolve the matter."