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Matric Tariffs. How did we get to where we are?

MATRIC TARIFFS

 

Where are we now?

 

In order to understand why the matric tariffs agreed to in Collective Agreement (CA) 1 of 2011 have not been implemented it is necessary to understand the history of what has happened.

 

Fact: During 2010 parties in the ELRC (Employer, SADTU and the CTU-ATU namely: NAPTOSA, NATU, PEU and SAOU as well as PSA and Hospersa) negotiated a new set of tariffs for matric markers.  These tariffs represented a 100% increase on the previous or “old” tariffs.

 

Fact: The Minister of Basic Education issued Government Gazette  34079, which was signed on 15 February 2011 and issued on  7 March 2011. The tariffs in this Gazette were the “old” tariffs and not the negotiated tariffs

 

Fact: The Director General  (DG) of the DBE signed  Collective Agreement  (CA) 1 of 2011 on 7 April 2011

Questions: Why did the minister issue a Gazette with out-dated tariffs?  Why did the Employer’s reps in the ELRC not inform the DG and the Minister that new tariffs had been negotiated?

 

Fact: The DG called union principals to an urgent meeting in November 2011 and stated that the CA was incorrect and that the DBE could not afford these tariffs.

 

Questions: Did the employer reps negotiate without a mandate? Why did the DG sign the CA if he did not have a mandate?   Did the Employer reps negotiate in bad faith?  Is this “confusion” as a result of poor communication and incompetence on the part of senior DBE officials? There are many more questions that may be asked.

 

Fact: In an attempt not to delay the payment of markers an addendum to CA 1 of 2011 was signed in Dec 2011 which stated that the 2010 tariffs, as outlined in GG of April 2011, plus an “increase" of 6.8% would be used. The addendum also stated that the CA would be subjected to the interpretation procedures  of the ELRC.

 

Comment: The 6.8%  which was added to the tariff was in fact not an increase, but simply an adjustment of the tariffs to bring them in line with the cost of living adjustment granted to educators in 2011. The tariffs are supposed to be adjusted annually.

 

Fact: Early in 2012 parties obtained legal opinion on the status of the CA. There were attempts to resolve the matter, with the Employer offering an additional increase of approximately 10%, which the teacher unions rejected.

 

Fact: In May 2012 the Employer declared a dispute, however, there was no conciliation and the matter was set down for arbitration. The Employer again offered an increase of 10%, which was rejected.

 

Fact: At the end of November  2012 the arbitration commenced. The Employer argued that the ELRC did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter. In December 2012 the arbitrator ruled that the ELRC did have jurisdiction and that the arbitration could proceed.

 

Fact: In another attempt to avoid disrupting the matric marking the unions signed a second addendum to the CA (dated 28 November 2012), where markers were offered the 2010 tariffs with an increase of 6.8% adjustment (for 2011) and a 7% adjustment (for 2012)

 

Comment: These adjustments were not increases  - see above

 

Fact: On 12 February 2012 the Employer withdrew the dispute and in a further notice also issued on 12 February, but only sent to NAPTOSA a few days later, the Minister, in terms of section 23 (4) of the Labour Relations Act, terminated the agreement, on the grounds that the DBE could not afford the tariffs as stated in Collective Agreement 1 of 2011.