THE South African Democratic Teachers Union will tell teachers that the government says it does not have enough money to pay for the salary increases agreed on this week.
Sadtu Gauteng secretary Ronald Nyathi said they would give the government a chance if it pleaded for time to meet the teachers' demands.
"But they must not come to us and say they have no money," said Nyathi. "They must not think we cannot embark on a strike because exams are around the corner. They must not use exams as a trap. A hungry stomach knows no law."
Nyathi was speaking yesterday as Education Department officials met unions to report back on how much they had sourced to implement the Occupational Specific Dispensation.
Key aspects of the agreement include:
l A review of salary structures where a scientific study would determine the appropriate remuneration scales;.
l Recognition of experience where teachers, with effect from July 1, will receive a 1percent increase for every three years of continuous service;
l All teachers will receive a 3percent pay rise backdated to July 1, and a 1percent annual pay progression thereafter; and
l Senior and master teachers will receive a once-off cash bonus of 3percent of their annual salary.
A task team was formed to source funds to pay for the increases agreed between the unions and the department on Monday.
The task team is composed of the departments of basic education, finance, and public service and administration.
"We can and we will fight for our rights. We have reported back to our members and they are expecting the money at the end of the month. Teachers cannot perform on hungry stomachs," Nyathi said.
Sadtu national negotiator John Maluleke said: "The amount we agreed on is affordable. The department has said it had sourced R4billion and needed an extra R1,5billion.
"They can't come and say they don't have the money. That would be unacceptable."
He said the union wanted to improve teachers' salaries and close the wage gap.