KZN Grade R teachers threaten to down tools

2012-11-14 00:00

OVER 5 000 Grade R teachers in KwaZulu-Natal have threatened to put down chalk and abandon classrooms after the Education Department failed to increase their salaries, which may impact the class of 2013.

The National Teachers’ Union (Natu) said when public servants received a seven percent salary increment in May this year, about 5 200 Grade R teachers did not receive it.

Natu’s Allen Thompson said the teachers approached the union to institute industrial action, but attempts to engage with education department head Nkosinathi Sishi failed. He said the union also tried to meet the premier.

Thompson said 90% of Grade R teachers in KZN belong to their union.

“These educators have vowed that they will down tools before schools close this year.

“This implies that at the start of the 2013 academic year, there will be no Grade R teachers in class until such time that they have clear conditions of employment, with well stipulated benefits.”

Natu said these teachers earn R4 000 a month and have no pension fund or medical benefits.

“Mine workers in Marikana in North West before the historic strike action earned far more than the Grade R educators,” he said.

Education Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the department and unions were working on the issue.

Thompson said they were waiting for a response from the premier, and if it is not favourable there will be no other option but to strike.

SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) KZN secretary Mbuyiseni Mathonsi said he did not believe Natu would strike.

He said Sadtu took its salary issues to the department during its protest on November 3, and the department’s offer is currently being revised.

Sadtu said it has 60 000 members in the province.

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