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PEU finds the call for no work no pay principle on teachers to be misplaced

Byafala 07/20/2020

PEU finds the call for no work no pay principle on teachers to be misplaced


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The Professional Educators’ Union (PEU) finds the call for no work no pay principle on teachers to be misplaced and blown out of proportion, as it is out of context looking into the call by Teachers Unions to have schools closed and should be put into correct perspective.

As Teacher Unions, we are alive to the fact that it is common cause that existing labour statutes regulating employer- employee relationship give employers the prerogative to implement principle of no work no pay for days that employees did not render service.

Our call for closure of schools is informed by the current spike in COVID-19 infections in the country, which has by now clocked over a 350 000 mark and has thrust the country on the fourth spot of countries with high prevalence of pandemic.

The call is not misplaced at all, as it feeds into the decision by the government to close schools in March, when the country had a relatively low statistics of infections.

It must be recalled that the above earlier decision to close schools , we were told, that it is informed by the advise from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that schools should only reopen under low community transmissions that have been effectively suppressed through broad-based comprehensive strategies, which is exactly what we are calling for as Teacher Unions and we expected the Government to have been the first to do so, as they are at coal phase of these statistics.

Unlike in the previous  instance in March, wherein schools were closed without any plan of what is to be done in the interim, we have made clear proposals to the Minister, as Teacher Unions, in our consolidated proposals below:

i)                That teachers should be trained on the new situation especially preparing online lessons as well as assessment.

ii)               That teachers be provided with the necessary tools to work from home and prepare work for reopening of schools.

iii)             That we prioritise Grade 12 learners by looking into various modes to assist them to continue with their schooling in a safe environment like in study camps etc.

It must be pointed out that our proposals are not a cast in stone but are subject to discussion, to find common ground. The bottom line is how do we navigate as a country, through the challenges before us, ushered in by the pandemic, without losing the lives of teachers and learners.

It will be disingenuous and jumping the gun that even before looking into what the teachers are proposing, we are already drumming the call for no work no pay.

It must be clear that we are not referring to teachers who have taken a decision on their own, to stay at home because they are not feeling safe, thereby totally disregarding the provisions of the Education and Labour Relations Council (ELRC) Collective Agreement on concessions for teachers with underlying conditions. For those ones, the law must simply take its course without even making noise about that.

It for this reason that whilst the Minister is following due processes to take a decision on the closure of schools, our members are seen to be continuing with their normal duty.

We must indicate that it will be a travesty of justice and betrayal to the mandate given to us as leadership, if we were to keep quite when lives of teachers and learners are lost in their quest to be educated.

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