The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the National Teachers Union (Natu) are threatening industrial action in KwaZulu-Natal at the opening of the 2017 school year if the salaries and the working conditions of Grade R teachers are not improved. The province has about 5,200 Grade R teachers who earn R7,000 but get none of the benefits enjoyed by other teachers such as medical aid, a 13th cheque, maternity and leave pay. The unions says the employment conditions of Grade R teachers are exploitive and the province’s education department needs to change them as soon as possible to bring them in line with other employees in the department. Sadtu says it held a meeting with Grade R teachers two weeks ago where they listed their grievances. On Friday Bheki Shandu, the union’s deputy secretary in KwaZulu-Natal, said the union was demanding Grade R teachers’ salaries be increased to R8,000, backdated to April 2016; and that they receive bonuses, to be paid in December, so th...

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