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KZN COMMITS TO PAYING THERAPISTS

 

NAPTOSA INTERVENTION LEADS TO NEW AGREEMENT

 

30 AUGUST 2013

 

In September 2012 a Collective Agreement (1 of 2012) was signed in the ELRC, after a four year struggle to finalise the OSD for therapists, counselors and psychologists. However, five months later problems began to surface in KZN with reports of the province not having the funds to pay these specialists – a group of professionals who provide a critical service to learners with special needs.

 

NAPTOSA wrote letters, held meetings with departmental officials, referred a dispute, requested that a compliance order be issued and explored other avenues to resolve the impasse. As time went by the patience of these specialists began to wear thin - they spoke about strikes, work to rule, demonstrations, court action and more.

 

In a letter to the ELRC, dated 11 July 2013, the KZN Education Department stated that it “is committed to complying with Collective Agreement 1 of 2012  . . .  the payment of the monies is based purely on an extremely austere financial situation  . . .  the [KZN] Department is engaged in a process of urgent reprioritisation of the budget”   The commitment did not include any time frames and the therapists were not impressed by the response, which appeared to be nothing more than an empty promise. It should be noted that the Collective Agreement was neither unfunded nor un-mandated.

 

The talks and correspondence between the senior leadership of NAPTOSA, the National Department of Basic Education and the KZN Department of Education have continued unabated and resulted in the following message which was sent to NAPTOSA on 30 August 2013 at 16:27 by the Director of Labour Relations in the National Department of Basic Education:

 Kindly be informed that the KZN Department of Education will by 01 October 2013 comply with the provisions of ELRC Collective Agreement 1 of 2012 and the resultant cost of living adjustment. The Chief Director (HR) from the KZN Department will also confirm this soon.

 

NAPTOSA wishes to express its gratitude to the senior officials in the National Department of Basic Education who intervened and brokered this deal.

 

All eyes are now on the KZN Education Department.

 

 

END OF STATEMENT