Teachers threaten to strike if demands are not met

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Teachers across the country have threatened a two- week strike if their demands for a higher increase on salary packages aren't met.

In a letter to the Sowetan yesterday, Frank Hartry echoed the sentiments of trade unions on the inadequacy of current teacher's salaries. "At present they are expected to be satisfied with a monthly salary of as little as R7000 or R8000," he said.

Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas) spokesman Paul Colditz said that present salaries and benefits of teachers did not reflect the importance of their role.

"Fedsas calls on the state to return to the negotiation table and to effect the expectations created by the announcement by the Minister of Finance in his budget speech," said Colditz.

Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi said that the salary increase of 6percent would keep pace with inflation, but South Afri-can Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Sipho Nkosi said that a ballot would be sent to all of the 234000 members to vote on the impending strike.

"We currently have the strike certificate that will allow us to lawfully strike for two weeks," said Nkosi. "Almost 100percent of the 45000 members in Kwa-Zulu-Natal will support the strike action, and no less than 90percent of members nationally are going to vote yes."

Sadtu is demanding a 12percent wage increase as well as an increase in the housing subsidy from R70000 to a minimum of R403000 a year. "The government knows that we can't afford these high house prices and growing commitments on our current salaries," said Nkosi.

"We are also demanding a higher employer contribution to our medical aids. We need it to be raised from R1014 to at least R2300," Nkosi said.

"The only one who can stop the strike is the government by conceding to our demands," said Nkosi.