Sisulu hits snag with Sadtu

2013-06-19 13:59

Cape Town - Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu will meet teacher union Sadtu this week regarding teachers' pay, MPs heard on Wednesday.

The Presidential Remuneration Commission - announced by President Jacob Zuma in his State-of-the-Nation address - was meant to review the pay and working conditions of public servants, starting with teachers.

However, the commission could not start its work until the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) had dropped certain demands it was making.

"We are meeting Sadtu tomorrow [Thursday] and hoping we can strike an agreement, because this is an essential part of the work that we do," Sisulu told Parliament's portfolio committee on public service and administration.

She said that during the last public service wage agreement reached with unions, several concerns were raised.

These included teachers who had been teaching for two decades earning less than receptionists.

"We have never used an instrument that is scientific for all to understand on how we grade jobs and what the value for money is for those jobs... what is this value for money?

"We talked about it, but we never tested it," she said.

The commission, chaired by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, would invite input from unions and various other interested parties.


Regarding the commission's terms of reference, Sisulu said it would make recommendations to government on, among others:

- A fair and efficient remuneration system;

- Benchmarking public service remuneration and conditions of service relative to market remuneration;

- Inefficiencies in the remuneration structure as a result of excessive pay or inappropriate organisational design;

- General trends in salary level, structures, and wages;

- A uniform job grading system to improve job equity throughout the public service; and

- Measurable performance indicators for the public service, which might be used to evaluate individual and departmental performance against salary levels.

"We talked about productivity, but we've never tested it with our people... we never checked with our people whether teachers are paid sufficiently, or maybe overpaid, or whatever the case may be," Sisulu said.

Government wanted an internationally recognised grading system.

"The teaching profession would be used as a benchmark against what we would say this is the salary we have worked out. This is what the state will get out of this particular person."

If Sadtu did not drop some of its demands, the commission could prioritise another sector.

"We are now running out of time. At my last interaction with the president he said if we are not able to have an early settlement with Sadtu, rather start prioritising the nursing sector so we are able to make progress on this matter," she told MPs.

Time sensitive

The commission would be given eight months to complete its work with a R25m budget.

"The proclamation has been prepared and we hope it will be gazetted as soon as the president has satisfied himself that the labour problems around Sadtu have been done."

On 6 May Sadtu suspended all protests after Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga agreed to meet a host of its demands.

In a joint announcement, the minister undertook to support, among others, an urgent initiative to achieve parity in the public service, and to appoint a task team to deal with the union's complaint about a failure to increase the salaries of matric exam markers.

Motshekga also bowed to the union's demands for an investigation into allegations against her director general Bobby Soobrayan.

It has accused him of violating the Public Finance Management Act.

She said the matter would be referred to the Public Service Commission and dealt with as a matter of urgency.

At the same time, Sadtu dropped its call for Motshekga's resignation.

  • Ongama Ntloko - 2013-06-19 14:20

    We hope, that she will also look at remuneration of Drs, and compare it with the work Drs do, assess whether they are getting value for money, or if they are getting more value for less money. Bcz frankly speaking, the quality and quantity of the work the Drs do is not even close to what they earn. A wrong decision by a Dr cost lives. If she uses that principle of value for money then Drs Medical officers should earn as DGs, specialist should earn more than judges!

      Chris R-e - 2013-06-19 15:04

      Couldn't agree more. The stress we face at work is incomparable to most other professions. Notwithstanding the 6 years and hundreds of thousands of rands spent on studying.

      Jon Ward - 2013-06-19 15:53

      There are things that can be done to improve the lot of teachers and doctors without even raising their salaries. Build more schools and hospitals. Even in so-called good "formerly model-C" schools, classroom sizes have reached between 35 and 40 students. As a teacher, I have left the country. I work in the orient and get paid three times what I was paid in SA. My largest class has 13 students in it! The simple fact is that neither education nor healthcare are priorities to the SA government. It's only too easy to blame unions (with legitimate concerns) and ignore the blatantly obvious things that wouldn't even involve the unions in the least. No classroom should contain more than 24 students. If I had to teach 50 students in my classroom, I also wouldn't be happy. You expect teachers to put up with all this nonsense for a pittance. Wake up people!

  • David Ward - 2013-06-19 14:20

    In my mind, the salary of a teacher should be of greater importance than the salary of a miner. Miners produce minerals that end up on rich people's necklaces while good teachers produce students capable of empowering themselves and the nation as a whole.

      Tersia Louw - 2013-06-19 15:33

      The operative word, though, is "good".

      Tshepo Molale - 2013-06-19 18:10

      goverment vs private sector

      ISO - 2013-06-19 19:17

      Government relies on the private sector to create jobs - problem!

  • paul.kershaw.18 - 2013-06-19 14:35

    "Government wanted an internationally recognised grading system." 20 years later? wow, the lack of any process is still being 'talked' about. Useless bunch of wannabees.

  • NicolasGombert - 2013-06-19 15:00

    Dear Lindiwe, Value = Performance/Cost If you want to increase Value, either increase performance or decrease the cost. Unfortunately, SADTU will try to DECREASE the performance by doing even less and INCREASING the Cost by demanding MORE pay. It is high time somebody breaks SADTU back, they should be in school teaching kids, instead, they avail themselves with everything except that.

  • Steve Ritchie - 2013-06-19 15:00

    Measurable performance indicators for the public service. Would be extremely difficult to even find a starting point. What public service?????????

      lacrimosewolf - 2013-06-19 19:08

      The public service that is now guzzling 12% of the budget We wouldn't mind so much if we actually got a 12% return on our 'investment'

  • Frances-Ann Douglas - 2013-06-19 15:16

    the first gOod thing i heard in 19 years of democracy

  • Richard Scully - 2013-06-20 06:18

    Useless Sisulu

  • Junior Jay Tyala - 2013-06-20 07:38

    Ash! Children's future and the economy might not gel if children do not get better education. Thozamile Tyala

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