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Media Release

8 August, 2007

WCED Meeting with unions welcomed, productive

Statement by Cameron Dugmore, MEC for Education in the Western Cape

This morning Western Cape Education MEC Cameron Dugmore, the Head of Department Ron Swartz and other senior officials met with representatives of various teacher unions, facilitated by an independent mediator.

The meeting took place after teacher unions walked out of the Provincial Education Labour Relations Council (PELRC) last week, citing a "breakdown in relations". The PELRC is a bargaining forum for employer (the department) and employees as represented by teacher unions.

Although the WCED is not entirely satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, it was a welcomed and productive meeting. We have agreed that it is the beginning of a process to mend relations, and rebuild confidence in the education system as a whole, in the interest of our learners.

Whilst the unions have reiterated their stance not to endorse the WCED's Education Recovery Plan and take the matter up with the national Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC), we have made it clear that we have a responsibility towards our learners, and will do everything possible to ensure the successful implementation of the Recovery Plan.

At this stage 117 out of 149 high schools are participating in the Recovery Plan. Many schools are also following their own recovery programmes, and we thank them for their commitment.

In the meeting with the unions, we have also reached agreement on the following:

  1. Pay progression: WCED to implement pay progression and notch increases from the end of this month.

  2. No-work, no-pay deductions: WCED to provide schools with list of names of teachers whose salaries are being docked.

  3. Temporary teachers: unions to provide list of teachers whose contracts have yet to be converted to permanent status.

  4. Temporary Incapacity Leave: prior to 1 Jun 2006, there was no procedure to verify such leave claims before leave was granted. With the result that many teachers have been granted Temporary Incapacity Leave. However, with a verification procedure now in place, some teachers have found such leave revoked and having to repay unpaid leave. The unions are unhappy with the long administrative process, and WCED has undertaken to resolve all outstanding matters before end of September 2007.

The issues of classroom visits and the closure of schools will be discussed at a next meeting of the PELRC.

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi:  082 550 3938, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za.

Issued by:
Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689

Visit our website: http://wced.wcape.gov.za

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