THE ANC faces a tough road ahead as the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has vowed to fight attempts to declare education an essential service – a move which has been rubbished as half- baked to try and solve a myriad problems in South Africa's poor education system.
Nehawu said yesterday it would ensure Cosatu, of which it is an affiliate, tackled the ruling party for this "constitutionally unsound" legislation.
Nehawu spokesman Sizwe Pamla said: "We are fiercely opposed to this legislation.
"They are trying to coerce teachers into submission and want to drag them screaming and kicking, no matter how dissatisfied they are."
On Monday, President Jacob Zuma said declaring teaching an essential service was the only way to ensure that children's education was not compromised.
This meant that teacher strikes would be restricted as is the case with health professionals.
Pamla believed the government should instead realise that teachers faced deeper problems, including low salaries and the fact that in most areas teaching was done under trying conditions.
"Education will continue to go down because teachers are dissatisfied," he said.