Mbabane: Doesn’t it seem likethe ‘No Work, No Pay’ rule has proven to be a pinprick that the government has used against teachers whenever they will not yield to their demands, or could one reiterate the aphorism which says ‘they are easy where they are weakest?’
If the association of teachers’, SNAT, president’s words are anything to go by, teachers have taken government’s directive of the ‘no work, no pay’ rule as a heavy knock on the knee, which has left them relenting on their their initial directive to stay at home.
SNAT’s President, Mbongwa Dlamini, had earlier ruled that unless government submitted to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 9 (1), teachers would stay put and not go to school. The Act seeks a safe environment for workers before they can start their operations. Despite being a week away from July 6, a date reserved by government for schools’ reopening, a great percentage of schools have not been cleaned up or fumigated. In fact, the SNAT president had earlier reported that according to their nationwide inspections on schools, only 5 percent of the preparations had been done. Notably, after the ministry of education’s announcement that teachers who would not heed to government’s call to return to class would not be paid, some schools saw a steady flow of teachers who began immediately to clean-up, albeit without the proper, WHO approved Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). The ministry also directed that teachers were only required for administrative purpose more than cleaning-up, contrary to what has been seen not long from now, where teachers were spotted with their sleeves up and scrubbing floors.
When drawn for comment, the association’s president said they tried to drum sense to government but they hit a snag. “They threatened us with the ‘no work, no pay’ rule, much against Section 38 (c) of the Constitution of the country.
Section 38 of the 2005 Constitution, under prohibition of certain derogations says, “Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, there shall be no derogation from the enjoyment of the following rights and freedoms
(a) life, equality before the law and security of person;
(b) the right to fair hearing;
(c) freedom from slavery or servitude;
(d) the right to an order in terms of section 35 (1); and
(e) freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Eswatini Principal Association (EPA) President, Welcome Dlamini, said all he knew was that the teachers had gone to school to assist in the administration in preparedness of the reopening slated for next week, July 6.