Education International
Education International

South Africa: Teachers Reject Salary Offer

published 19 October 2007 updated 19 October 2007

EI affiliate the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) had rejected the government's proposals on a new teacher payment regime which would link remuneration with performance.

The government had made "exaggerated claims" regarding the Occupational Specific (payment) Dispensation" (OSD) when it was used to end a month-long public service strike said Sadtu general-secretary and EI president Thulas Nxesi.

These claims amounted to "false promises in an attempt to get the support of teachers" and included assertions that every teacher would receive a minimum salary increase of 8.5%, without indicating this included the 7.5% already awarded.

"This means that in reality teachers will receive a minimum of 1% increase from OSD. Nothing to get excited about," Nxesi said.

The government had also promised that some teachers could receive increases of up to 60%, which was true of only nine of South Africa's 280,000 teachers.

Also, while the top salary scales had been increased, teachers who were deemed currently "satisfactory" would take 54 years to reach top salary level. In some cases teachers would be 80 years old before they reached the top of the pay scale.

Sadtu also rejected a proposal for annual teacher evaluations as using up valuable time and resources without the government being able to assure teachers that the inspectorate had the capacity to conduct evaluations.

"The national executive committee took the view that the current offer on OSD was an attempt by the employer to unilaterally restructure the profession and change job descriptions, and represented a fundamental attack on the labour rights and conditions of educators, and would reverse many of the gains made by Sadtu since the early 1990s," Nxesi said.

The national executive committee has resolved to initiate a major consultation with grassroots teachers, while Sadtu and the other teacher unions are to meet government negotiators in the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) to negotiate the OSD.