Cape Town. Senior marker Carien Laubscher and her team busy with the Mathematical Literacy Paper at the matric marking centre. A record number of 3600 markers will mark the 800 000 examination scripts from 45 470 candidates. Picture Ian Landsberg

Cape Town - Teachers’ unions have joined forces to fight a decision by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to “withdraw” from a collective agreement that would substantially increase the tariffs for matric markers.

The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa) and the SA Teachers’ Union (Satu) are among the unions that have approached the Labour Court in Johannesburg to have the termination of the agreement declared unfair and unlawful.

In a statement earlier this month, Naptosa said that during 2010 teachers’ unions in the Education Labour Relations Council had negotiated a 100 percent increase in the tariffs for matric markers and other examination related work.

The union said Basic Education director-general Bobby Soobrayan signed the agreement in April 2011 but in November it was announced that the agreement “was said to be incorrect, invalid, not mandated and could not be funded”.

The matter had been set down for hearing on Monday but according to Sadtu the department failed to file their answering affidavit on time. The matter was postponed to Tuesday.

“We are still baffled by the fact that nothing has been done to the director- general Bobby Soobrayan who allegedly signed the collective agreement without following proper internal processes. Our members are suffering as a result of the director-general’s conduct and the future of our Grade 12 learners is at risk as our members are not going to administer and mark both the supplementary and final examination scripts for the year 2013,” Sadtu said.

Motshekga’s spokeswoman Hope Mokgatlhe referred the Cape Argus to a previous statement the department had released on the issue.

It stated that collective agreement was entered into on April 7, 2011.

“The agreement was introduced to align the collective bargaining processes with the published gazette (Government Notice 187; Gazette 34079) of 2011. However, the tariffs inserted on page three of the Collective Agreement were in conflict with the above-mentioned gazette published in February 2012.”

The department said the error was picked up and communicated to the unions.

“The financial implication of the error was that the provinces would have had to pay an additional R700 million, which was not in their budgets.”

According to the department’s statement, the senior manager and middle manager responsible for the error were disciplined and given final written warnings for their negligence.

“As a result, the department did not proceed with the implementation of this erroneous agreement.”


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Cape Argus