Deputies fight pay accord

2009-12-31 00:00

A GROUP of KwaZulu-Natal teachers comprising heads of department and deputy school principals are preparing to go to court to challenge the effects of an agreement under which teachers who are on a lower level can earn the same salary or more than their senior counterparts.

The agreement was signed by the national Education Department and trade unions in March 2006, but is alleged to have been effective from 2003.

It was motivated by a need to improve the career prospects for post- level one teachers and allow their salaries to escalate without them having to be promoted to the next available post.

The agreement was designed to enable the department to retain the services of long-standing teachers who may otherwise have left the profession because of a lack of vacancies.

However, heads of department and deputy principals say a consequence of the so-called “master teacher” programme is that they now find themselves in a position where they earn the same salary or even less than level one “master teachers”.

A total of 141 affected teachers referred the dispute to the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) in September this year, alleging it to be an unfair labour practice. Senior commissioner Richard Lyster ruled, however, that the dispute does not relate to an unfair labour practice that ELRC may arbitrate, but is an issue relating to remuneration over which the ELRC has no jurisdiction.

Lyster said it is clear that the applicants in the case sought an increase in their salaries to put them into a position in which their grade seniority and their responsibilities are recognised. He commented that this is “not an unreasonable claim” on their part, but said the dispute could not be dealt with by the ELRC.

“Should the applicants seek to overturn the resolution itself on the basis of discrimination or any other ground, they … must approach the labour court or the high court for that purpose,” he said.

A representative of the affected teachers, Dev Naidoo, told The Witness that the group is preparing to lodge a high court application and added that it is possible that teachers from other provinces could join in.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.