Today's Labour News

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education90An analysis by the Financial Mail reveals that over the past three years provincial education departments have quietly shed 2,800 jobs, or 0.5% of their workforce, yet increased their collective spending on personnel by a whopping 22.3%.  

Their total compensation for employees, which included non-teaching personnel, rose from R135.6bn in 2013/2014 to R165.9bn in 2016/2017, while the head count fell from 519,817 to 517,018.  The soaring wage bill is already crowding out spending on necessities such as textbooks.  The lion’s share of provincial education budgets is spent on personnel, most of whom are teachers, with allocations ranging from 82.4% of the total in KwaZulu Natal to 72.7% in Gauteng.  SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) general secretary Maluleke Mugwena said the problem stemmed from the pay structure that was introduced to end a month-long public sector strike in 2007.  This included an "occupation-specific dispensation", which was not fully budgeted for.  Economist Mike Schussler said the 2007 pay structure introduced so many promotional notches per salary level that a teacher could stay on the same salary level and get an extra percent every year for 20 years, over and above the inflation-linked pay increases nailed down in each wage settlement.  As Treasury noted in the October medium-term budget policy statement, these progressions were intended to reward performance, but they have become largely automatic.

  • Read this informative report by Tamar Kahn in full at Financial Mail

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