Two teachers’ unions agree to 3% wage increase

SADTU and NAPTOSA reluctantly accept government offer

By Chris Gilili

6 October 2022

It would be wrong for teachers to strike so close to learners’ exams, says the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa. Graphic: Lisa Nelson

Two teachers’ unions have accepted the government’s revised 3% wage increase offer to public servants.

The National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), and the South African Democratic Teachers Unions (SADTU) have both accepted.

“It’s not what we wanted at all, we are not happy, but our members have made it clear that we must sign the offer. It’s better than getting nothing,” said SADTU spokesperson Nomusa Cembi. He said SADTU would not join a strike on the issue.

NAPTOSA director Bismail Manuel told GroundUp that he felt the unions had reached the end of the road with the wage negotiations.

“Our members agree that this 3% wage increase is an insult, but we also feel like we cannot get more. Our members also made it clear that they will not go on strike. Learners have already been seriously affected by the Covid pandemic, so going on industrial action just before the final school exams would be very selfish,” said Manuel.

“We will not negotiate for more, we are signing the offer.”

Manuel said the union was hoping to influence the budget for 2023.

The negotiations with government deadlocked over four weeks ago and many unions have vowed to go on strike. The government is offering a 3% pensionable increase across the board, and the continuation of the current cash allowance of R1,000 at all salary levels.

Other public service unions including the Police, Prisons, and Civil Rights Union (POPCRU), the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NUPSAW) have rejected the 3% offer and threatened to go on strike.

Last month members of unions affiliated to the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), picketed, demanding a baseline increase of 8%.

The Public Servants Association (PSA) said it rejected the wage offer as it does not take into account the rising cost of living. If nothing changed, the union said it would strike next week.