Classes cancelled as DUT staff strike

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DUT Staff strike INLSA Striking DUT staff march in support of their demands for higher wages. Picture: Gcina Ndwalane

Durban - The Durban University of Technology has warned of further disruptions at its seven campuses after staff went on strike yesterday, forcing the cancellation of some classes.

The strike came after wage talks between staff unions and university management deadlocked.

The Tertiary Education National Union of South Africa, National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and National Tertiary Education Union are demanding a 13 percent salary hike.

DUT is offering 7.5 percent.

Nehawu DUT chairman, Milton Estrice, said the strike would continue until their demands were met. Estrice accused the institution of ”negotiating in bad faith”.

“There are no negotiations now, but the strike will go on indefinitely,” he said.

Protesting staff marched around the Steve Biko campus and blocked the road in front of Vice Chancellor Ahmed Bawa’s offices. Staff from the DUT’s Pietermaritzburg campuses were expected to join their Durban colleagues on strike today.

A striking administration staff member, who asked not to be named, said they had only embarked on industrial action as a last resort, following five months of negotiating with the institution.

He said the strikers “don’t want the students disturbed” and hoped the impasse would be resolved soon.

The DUT has released a statement warning of possible disruptions and has postponed its test week – pre-exam tests taken by the students to qualify for their mid-year exams – indefinitely.

“We have not suspended classes, but we anticipate disruptions,” said DUT spokesman Alan Khan.

Khan said the institution was unable to quantify the number of students affected by yesterday’s strike, but said post-graduate classes had not been disturbed.

Student Representative Council president, Ayanda Ngidi, said the SRC supported the strike, but would not participate.

Students have taken to Facebook to comment on it.

One student, whose identity is known to the Daily News, said: “Staff strike at DUT is causing trouble. All labs closed, no lectures, but deadlines remain unmoved. Really, we just can’t go on like this!”

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