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Wits strike expected to disrupt learning

Johannesburg - Learning was expected to be affected at Wits University on Thursday with a one-day salary strike and pickets planned from early this morning.

Wits’ academic and support staff on Wednesday said they would withdraw their labour to “show management the red card”. The unions also warned that further strike action could follow if no agreement is signed after today’s strike.

(File picture) A group of lecturers along with SRC representatives, students and general workers march around Wits University demanding better wages. Picture: Timothy Bernard. Credit: INLSA

This will be the second show of dissatisfaction by the group following a short march on campus by the same unions two weeks ago, during which they carried yellow cards in what they said was a warning to university management to act quickly on their demands.

This was after salary negotiations with the university deadlocked recently until Friday, when the unions and management agreed on a mediation process in a bid to resolve the impasse and reach an agreement.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union, the Administration, Library and Technical Staff Association and the Academic Staff Association of Wits University are demanding a 9 percent salary increase.

They are also demanding the implementation of what they said was a “long-promised benchmark for academic staff – the 75th percentile of the tertiary education sector”.

Unions also want the university to increase funds for research and establish a campus childcare facility.

However, management has cited financial constraints and offered a 7.5 percent salary hike for academic staff and a 6.8 percent increase for support staff across the board. - The Star

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