The Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande has applauded the conclusion of a salary agreement by the Further Education and Training Colleges (FETC) Bargaining Unit in the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC).
The collective agreement establishes parity in salaries of lecturing staff and office-based lecturers employed in public FET colleges with salaries of educators in public schools. The agreement will be backdated to the 1st April 2010. A 1% annual pay progression shall be paid with effect from the 1st July 2010.
The salary structure will consist of a single salary scale with 221 notches, each 1% apart. The salary shall be the same as the OSD salary scale applicable to educators.
This agreement forms part of two-tier plan to improve working conditions in the FETC Sector. Parties to the ELRC FETC Bargaining Unit are currently working on a plan to address the conditions of service for lecturers in the FETC Sector.
Minister Nzimande congratulates all parties involved in the negotiations and welcomes this significant breakthrough to address the salary disparities of college lecturers.
He said the salary issue has been of great concern since the announcement last year by President Jacob Zuma that FET colleges should become an exclusive national competence.
"The conclusion of this agreement which establishes uniformity in salary scales with lectures in public basic education will provide much needed stability and motivation in the college sector".
"A stable, efficient and effective college sector is critical to our strategic goals for skills development and artisan training. For those working in the sector, we hope this agreement inspires confidence that colleges are not the poor cousins to other sectors in higher education and training and that they are firmly part of the DHET family,' Minister Nzimande said.
He said the successful conclusion of the agreement was particularly welcome ahead of a crucial two-day FET College summit which will be held on 3-4 September 2010. Issues to be discussed at the summit include preparations for an effective start to the 2011 academic year in FET colleges.