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Wits protest over labour grievances

University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) staff and students protested in Johannesburg on Thursday over salaries, the university said in a statement.

They handed a memorandum to Wits vice-chancellor and principal Prof Loyiso Nongxa asking for the reopening of salary negotiations for 2012/13.

Management and unions have held negotiations about the salary hikes in recent weeks, but have failed to reach an agreement.

The unions are demanding a nine percent salary increase, and R1.4 million a year to fund the salaries of union officials.

Management has offered a 7.5 percent increase for academic staff and 6.8 percent for supporting staff.

Nongxa said several factors were taken into consideration before the last offer was presented. These included a performance management system and an analysis of previous salary inflations.

“The revised offer also included introducing two new categories of long service awards, granting paternity leave of five days to all persons who qualify, increased adoption leave and simplified administrative leave.

“The university is also looking into establishing a child care facility on the campus.”

University spokeswoman Shirona Patel said management would go back to the drawing board.

“We are looking into the matter and are hoping to have this resolved by August 2,” she said. - Sapa

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