Monthly Archives: January 2016

17th World Trade Union Congress

Athens, Greece – 26 January 2016

Preparation and promotion of the 17th World Trade Union Congress

Dear comrades,

As you have already been informed by previous Communication of the Presidential Council, the WFTU is organizing the 17th World Trade Union Congress in Durban, South Africa on 5-8 October 2016.

The World Trade Union Congress is a highly important moment not only for the large family of the WFTU but also for all the trade union Organizations and the international working class.

Our Congress cements the progress of WFTU accomplished in the previous five years, it analyzes the contemporary political and economic conditions in which the workers struggle is held and it strengthens the Organization for the years to come with significant resolutions and decisions to be implemented.

In the current global capitalist crisis and the workers struggle that are confronting the antilabour attack, the success of the 17th Congress is of crucial important so that the WFTU will be further empowered in its objective to build a strong class-oriented international trade union movement to demand the contemporary needs of the working class against poverty and wars generated by capitalism.

The success of the 17th World Trade Union Congress depends on all our collective efforts not only the efforts of the Secretariat, the Presidential Council and the Central Offices.  Therefore, we kindly request from you to support the efforts for the success of the Congress, to register you delegates and reports on time and to promote though your websites, publications, public activities/speeches and e-mails the objectives and the information of the Congress.

Fraternal greetings,

The Secretariat


Detroit’s public schools are failing academically and nearly insolvent, leaving residents to wonder how the city can recoup its lost population

Crumbling, Destitute Schools Threaten Detroit’s Recovery

DETROIT — In Kathy Aaron’s decrepit public school, the heat fills the air with a moldy, rancid odor. Cockroaches, some three inches long, scuttle about until they are squashed by a student who volunteers for the task. Water drips from a leaky roof onto the gymnasium floor.

“We have rodents out in the middle of the day,” said Ms. Aaron, a teacher of 18 years. “Like they’re coming to class.”

Detroit’s public schools are a daily shock to the senses, run down after years of neglect and mismanagement, while failing academically and teetering on the edge of financial collapse. On Wednesday, teachers again protested the conditions, calling in sick en masse and forcing a shutdown of most of the city’s almost 100 schools.

As Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, grapples with the crisis in Flint, where residents have been poisoned by the local water supply under a state-appointed emergency manager, he has also had to confront the emergency here, another poor, largely African-American city with a problem that has also festered under state control.


The empty swimming pool at the Spain school in Detroit. Credit Salwan Georges for The New York Times

Things have become so bad, district officials say, that the Detroit public school system could be insolvent by April.

“They’re in need of a transformational change,” Mr. Snyder, a Republican, acknowledged in his State of the State speech Tuesday. “Too many schools are failing at their central task. Not all Detroit students are getting the education they deserve.” Continue reading

Unions in unison with EC education dept regarding teacher recruitment

Unions in unison with EC education dept regarding teacher recruitment


Teachers’ unions in the Eastern Cape have welcomed the provincial Education Department’s aggressive programme to recruit teachers in the province.

Earlier this week, the provincial department announced that it was in the process of recruiting more than 1600 teachers in a bid to address teacher shortages.

The department has requested all qualified educators, including those that are employed by SGBs and private schools, to submit their profiles at its provincial headquarters in Zwelitsha.

The South African Democratic Teachers` Union provincial administrator, Sindile Zamisa says, “We appreciate the move by the department to provide these teachers even though we are saying we will monitor if implemented according to the agreement we have signed with them.”

The department’s spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima elaborates, “By appointing these educators we want to ensure that learning and teaching takes place. We are prioritising the appointment of these teachers because we have already provided the schools with  learner material….”

 Find your true balance for academic success

Koos Kwena, The New Age, Johannesburg, 21 January 2016

By now every student knows that any matric distinctions have to be left at the gate when they become university students. They must not be tempted to compare high school and varsity levels because there’s a big difference.

There is a bridge between high school and tertiary education that students need to cross.

Unfortunately most students fail to cross it successfully due to a number of factors that exist as barriers to success. In other instances it’s the students themselves who are ignorant and reckless. They are conscious about the obstacles but behave irresponsibly.

The most significant cause of students dropping out of varsity is the high cost of tertiary education. Financial limitations often mean that they have to suspend their studies or abandon them completely. Universities have become too expensive while incomes in real terms have stagnated or even decreased for the majority of our people.

Nonetheless, we must not consider exorbitant tuition fees as the only barrier to varsity excellence, but also consider the hectic varsity lifestyle and general campus environment.

The cost of books, accommodation, food and stationery are among the major challenges faced by students in institutions of higher learning.

Another factor that stands against university success is the lack of preparedness in first year students mainly from public schools.

Many who come from villages and townships come to campus with no prior exposure to a university environment. They are thus faced with challenges when it comes to adapting to the sophisticated demands of universities, especially in the area of technology. Also, these first years are often unprepared academically to handle the new pace of teaching and learning.

Scarcity of information about university demands in townships and rural areas is indeed a cause for concern.

Pupils are not provided with adequate advice or guidance in order to make conscious choices of areas of study that will be best suited for them.

Many pupils believe that maths and science are all that is needed to succeed in engineering, whereas there are also aspects such as drawing and design which are integral to the engineering stream.

Some end up choosing impressive courses which later lock them into academic situations they have no actual interest in and the only way to escape is through dropping out.

Also, family pressure to pursue qualifications that students might not choose themselves steals the real joy of being a successful student. Parents put pressure on their children to study towards degrees which the children themselves are not interested in and which require certain qualities that they don’t meet. Those students end up losing focus and commitment.

The atmosphere at universities is that of freedom. Only those students who are already trained in self-discipline and self-leadership are able to survive the temptations that come with being independent.

Once students get into their college schedule they realise that despite their new independence the amount of responsibility that comes with their freedom was not at all what they anticipated. They therefore become discouraged and decide to turn away from academic pursuits. They also succumb to the pleasures of the city and abandon their primary goal of getting qualifications to contribute to society.

The balance of having a social life and being a true academic is what the successful student is able to attain.

  • Koos Kwena is a social commentator


Slovakia Teachers: Strike Alert


Teachers in Slovakia announced  a strike alert on January 11 because of the long-term ignoring of the teachers’  demands for adequate financing of education.

Teachers will go on full strike on January 25 if the government does not offer specific legislative measures by that date.

They demand salary increases for all teaching and professional employees as well as the increasion of the budgets for education

The success of the strike will depend on how many schools and teachers join

We condemn the Israeli attack on the Birzeit University


15/01/2016 – We condemn the Israeli attack on the Birzeit University

The World Federation of Teachers Unions, FISE, member of the WFTU condemns the new provocative attack of the Israeli army, at the offices of Birzeit University

The attack took place at dawn on Monday, January 11, when forces of the Israeli occupation army with about 15 vehicles stormed into the office of the Students Council, after having demolished the western gate of the university, turning it into a military outpost. They confiscated flags, banners, loudspeakers, audio equipment and computers belonging to students.

The everyday violations and attacks against Palestine and the Palestinian students aim to deprive even the right to education. To turn the Palestinian people who struggle for a free homeland into a people illiterate, half-educated and weak-willed.

FISE supports the Palestinian people, supports their request to free homeland, supports the struggle for free access to education. The solidarity of teachers and all workers throughout the world can be the shield of the Palestinian people.



Gabon : Teachers go on strike for a month



Once again teachers in the West African state of Gabon have embarked on a month’s strike over unpaid wages. They are also demanding that early years teachers be integrated into the school system – they have been working without salaries for many years. Teachers in the country earn poverty wages – about $130 a month – making it difficult to live a reasonable life.


As a result of the strike the government of dictator Ali Bongo promised to pay the money owed to them – however that has still not happened. Moreover his government has a habit of sending out armed security forces to attack the teachers and the school and university students who often come out to support them.