Case Number: PSES CMA 000077 WC
Province: Western Cape
Applicant: MS S Z SCHEEPERS & MS S R SPRUYT
Respondent: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Issue: Unfair Dismissal - Constructive Dismissal
Award Date: 22 April 1999
Arbitrator: C C WILLIAMS
EDUCATION LABOUR RELATIONS COUNCIL
CASE NUMBER : PSES CMA 000077 WC
In the arbitration between:
SZ SCHEEPERS APPLICANT 1
GLEN HEATLIE PRIMARY SCHOOL : SR SPRUYT APPLICANT 2
WESTERN CAPE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT RESPONDENT
1.1 This arbitration, forming part of the WCED settlement week proceedings, was held at Worcester on 15 April 1999 after conciliation between the parties failed. Ms SZ Scheepers was represented by Messrs Heradien and Leonie of the CTPA and Ms Spruyt represented herself. The Western Cape Educational Department was represented by Mr I Matthews. The Grievants were both declared to be in excess at the Glen Heatlie Primary School.
2.1 Both Grievants have as the crux of their disputes the following complaints:
2.1.1. The principal, Ms January, consulted with the staff regarding the rationalisation process but failed to consider the decisions of the staff in conducting the process. The staff had decided at the first meeting with the principal that the posts in excess were to be found in the junior primary phase, but were informed by the principal at a second staff meeting that the excess was in both the junior primary and senior primary phase.
2.1.2. The curriculum needs of the school were no determined in consultation with the staff.
2.1.3. The relevant unions were not invited to observe the process as per paragraph 5.5 of Resolution 6 of 1998.
2.1.4 Both Grievants were first informed that they were declared to be in excess by the Chairman of the Governing Body contrary to paragraph 6.3 of Resolution 6 of 1998.
2.2 In addition Ms Scheepers felt that since she had 32 years experience as an educator and was a qualified Junior Primary educator only teaching in the senior primary phase she would have been grouped with the junior primary staff for purposes of rationalisation and not with the senior primary staff, where she was found to be in excess.
2.3 Ms Spruyt who had been redeployed to Glen Heatlie Primary during 1998 contended that since she was in possession of a letter of protection from the education department and had not been appointed in a permanent position at the time she was declared in excess, that she should not have been considered during the rationalisation process.
2.4 Ms January, the school principal stated that she had been notified by the education department that there were two posts in excess at Glen Heatlie Primary. She had attended a meeting where circular 146/98 and Resolution 6 of 1998 were explained to her. She then went back to her staff, handed out the circulars and the explained at a meeting with them what the circulars were about that there were two posts in excess at the particular school.
2.5 She states further that she cannot remember that the staff decided at the first meeting that the excess was in the junior primary phase. However, she had a follow-up meeting with two members of staff holding positions in the senior primary phase, a Mr Cox and Mr Domingo, and the three of them decided that the excess was to be found in both the junior primary and senior primary phase on the basis of the pupil staff ratio and that therefore one junior primary educator and one senior primary educator should be declared in excess. These two educators Messrs Cox and Domingo are not senior educators as the school only has one other senior educator besides the principal, a head of department who was not present at these discussions.
2.6 Ms January then had a second meeting with the entire staff where she informed them that one senior primary phase educator and one junior primary phase educator were in excess.
2.7 A third meeting was held with the staff where the chairman of the governing body was present. Ms January admits that the chairman actively participated in this meeting by enquiring about the extra curricular activities and profile of the staff. She also admits that the chairman announced the names of the educators in excess to the staff after she and the circuit manager had determined these educators in excess.
3 . EVALUATION
3.1 Based on the evidence of Ms January, the school principal, it is clear that the rationalisation procedure as described in Resolution 6 of 1998 was not followed at Glen Heatlie Primary School.
3.1.1. Although meetings were held with the staff, the purpose of those meetings were not fulfilled as prescribed in Resolution 6 of 1998.
3.1.2. Firstly the views of the staff regarding the determination of the posts in excess were not considered. [Only two staff members were consulted in this regard].
3.1.3. The curriculum needs of the institution together with the other requirements in paragraph 6.2.2(b) of Resolution 6 of 1998 were not discussed with the staff and/or not considered at all in the rationalisation process. On the principal’s own account, in determining the posts in excess she only considered the pupil- educator ratio in each phase.
3.1.4. The views of the staff were also not considered in determining the particular educators in excess.
3.1.5. Contrary to paragraph 6.3 the two Grievants were informed by the Chairman of the Governing body that they were in excess.
3.2 Further to the above, there was no evidence from the Department to refute the allegations contained in Ms Scheepers’ Statement of Case that the Unions were not invited to attend the right-sizing process.
3.3 Ms Scheepers’ further complaint that she should for right sizing purpose be seen as a junior primary educator is a matter which could also have been sorted out had there been proper consultation with the staff.
3.4 Ms Spruyt’s concern that she was not permanently employed at Glen Heatlie Primary School at the time of the rationalisation process is dealt with in para. 3.10 of the Resolution 6/1998 which stated that “an educator declared in excess in terms of a previous process... shall revert to being a full member of his/her current staff establishment.” She was therefore correctly considered to be part of the educator establishment for purposes of rationalisation.
4 . FINDING
In my opinion, based on the abovementioned facts it is clear that the rationalisation process was not followed in terms of Resolution 6 of 1998. In the premises I find that it would only be fair to all parties concerned that the rationalisation process at Glen Heatlie Primary School be redone in the manner prescribed by Resolution 6 of 1998.
Date: 22 April 1999
EDUCATION LABOUR RELATIONS COUNCIL
CASE NUMBER PSES CMA 000077 WC
APPLICANTS MS S Z SCHEEPERS & MS S R SPRUYT
RESPONDENT DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
NATURE RIGTH SIZING/ EXCESS
ARBITRATOR C C WILLIAMS
DATE OF ARBITRATION 15 APRIL 1999
APPLICANT MESSRS HERADIEN AND LEONIE & IN PERSON
RESPONDENT MR I MATTHEWS
1 In my opinion, based on the abovementioned facts it is clear that the rationalisation process was not followed in terms of Resolution 6 of 1998. In the premises I find that it would only be fair to all parties concerned that the rationalisation process at Glen Heatlie Primary School be redone in the manner prescribed by Resolution 6 of 1998.
DATE OF AWARD 22 APRIL 1999