Teachers face bleak future

THE Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie is up in arms against the Mpumalanga department of education over its failure to renew the contracts of more than 3000 teachers.

THE Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie is up in arms against the Mpumalanga department of education over its failure to renew the contracts of more than 3000 teachers.

The department confirmed yesterday that negotiations started on Friday and were continuing between its officials and the teachers' union (SAOU).

SAOU spokesperson Eutrecia Raubenheimer said the teachers' grievances started a week ago when the provincial department failed to answer questions pertaining to the renewal of their contracts.

"Many of these teachers have been in temporary positions since 2008 and crave a level of job security and stability in their careers," Raubenheimer said.

"We are busy with negotiations regarding the extension of the contracts of temporary educators and are hoping to achieve good results."

According to the SAOU many of its members have already been informed that their medical aid memberships would lapse at the end of April.

The union said if their their contracts were not renewed in time, their names would also be removed from the government's payroll and that would result in the teachers not receiving their salaries next month.

"It will not be the first time teachers are forced to work without receiving salaries," Raubenheimer said.

When contacted for comment, Mpumalanga education spokesperson Jasper Zwane admitted that negotiations were taking place.

"The department and union are at present discussing the issue and I hope we will soon reach an agreement that will satisfy both sides.

"I would like to assure teachers that we will soon reach an agreement in this matter." Zwane said.

Zwane confirmed that the teachers' contracts would lapse at the end of this month but urged teachers not to panic.

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