Public service wage negotiations are continuing; tell no lies, claim no easy victories.

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) and other unions affiliated to FEDUSA who together form 53,9% of those currently in negotiations at the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSCBC) are making strides in the current wage negotiations. Contrary to lies and the cheap propaganda peddled by unions who have been boycotting the negotiations and bullying others into their agenda, the public service wage negotiations are continuing

Since negotiations began on the 17th of February to the 14th of March 2023, SADTU and the FEDUSA Unions at the PSCBC have moved government from their initial offer of 4,7% to 7%, this includes the R1000 after tax as a notch increase with effect for 1 April 2023.

The pay progression of. 1,5% which workers will receive on top of the 7% with effect from July 2023 will be paid in accordance with sectoral collective agreements. This is an achievement which we have scored in 2023, the reinstatement the pay progression.  SADTU and FEDUSA are pushing the employer to improve the offer and we will continue to inform our members.

The unions in negotiations and the employer committed to consult their principals and members in the case of the Unions. Both parties agreed to expedite the process.

Given the current material conditions and the competing priorities of the national fiscus, SADTU strongly believes we have made significant strides, but we are still resolute to push government to improve their offer.

As a matter of fact, yesterday’s sitting on the 14th of March had to be held virtually to avoid disruptions from the unions that have boycotted the negotiations processes. These unions tried to disrupt the proceedings last week when labour was presenting their demands, in essence undermining the fundamental workers right of collective bargaining.

Let us be clear about the current strike. Each union has the right to declare a strike, but that right cannot be abused where other unions are bullied to join. SADTU has gone into strike and all workers benefited even if they did not embark on the strike. SADTU dismisses all lies and propaganda that the 7% offered yesterday was as a result of the facilitation process. The strike is about 2022-23 round of negotiations and not about 2023-24 round of negotiations. The current offer of 7% was negotiated by SADTU and FEDUSA unions. Anything else is propaganda and must be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. Further that, the unconstitutional facilitation by the PSCBC General Secretary has nothing to do with the 7% offer. We further reject the employer’s attempts to undermine the majority of unions who are in negotiations, in order to delay the conclusion of the current round of negotiations. We will not allow the employer to please those who undermine legitimate processes and attack our members.

SADTU members spoke, and we listened. Teachers’ Fora were convened all over the country as a platform to engage and for members to give Union the mandate for the current wage negotiations. They participated and took ownership of their union and its decision-making processes.  They respected their own constitution even in the face of insults, intimidation, myths and lies from our very own sister union disguised as “revolutionary” speak. SADTU members took a conscious and well considered decision based on real economic factors to participate in good faith in the bargaining chamber with the employer.

We will always be guided by our members on the next step and whatever mandate to take. We take our instructions from our members. We will continue to share information with members as we continue to be guided by them. We will always allow members to give us a mandate based on facts.

During these wage negotiations, unfavourable as they might have been, our members remained resolute and as a Union, we took a decision not to compromise our members through misplaced rhetoric and industrial actions.

We are education workers, and we have a moral obligation to educate and shape our nation and this responsibility is not limited to a four-walled classroom only. Collective bargaining is our hard earned right, one that we have and will continue to defend unapologetically, hence we decided to participate in the bargaining chamber and to fight for what was reasonable and achievable under the current socio-economic conditions our country.

The current round of negotiations is continuing and there is no deadlock yet. All our decisions are collective decisions and not of one person, our General Secretary. We take full responsibility as our decisions as the NEC. We stand fully behind our General Secretary as he remains the bearer of our decisions.

We denounce violence against our members, and we are determined to remain focused in order to secure better working conditions for all our members.

Remember that LIES HAVE SHORT LEGS. Populism is the mother of anarchy and ignorance is a double-edged sword.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat

CONTACT: General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 2968

                    Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651

                    Secretariat Officer, Xolani Fakude: 071 355 1566

                    Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi: 082 719 5157