Govt tells fired workers to reapply for their jobs

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

More than 200 fired administrative workers and cleaners who are on strike in KwaZulu-Natal's department of education have an option of re-applying for their jobs.

The offer came after an agreement was struck between the department's officials and the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).

Sadtu also agreed to end the strike.

Workers downed tools two weeks ago demanding that the department address their grievances ranging from corruption and nepotism to performance bonuses.

Department superintendent-general Cassius Lubisi said the formal application for re-instatement kicked off yesterday and continued today.

Applications must be submitted at either the education offices in Durban or Pietermaritzburg.

"The department will evaluate each application and each employee is expected to collect a confidential letter containing the outcome on Monday to find out if they have been re-instated," Lubisi said.

"Successful applicants will sign a declaration acknowledging their actions were unlawful and that they accept that if they ever get involved in similar conduct they would be summarily dismissed."

But Lubisi warned that the process does not apply to cases of employees who had committed criminal acts or had behaved in any unacceptable manner during the period of the unlawful industrial action.

Sadtu provincial chairperson Chris Ndlela confirmed that they had reached an agreement to suspend the strike.

He said an investigation into the allegations of nepotism and corruption would be made, while a joint task team would look at the problems around performance bonuses.

Ndlela said that the agreement stipulated that the fired workers should reapply for their jobs, but said Sadtu still maintained that the strike was legal.

"We do not want to dwell on whether or not the strike was legal," he said. "What matters now is that we have reached an agreement."

He said in the light of the latest developments, "we have suspended the strike".