Picture: Supplied/Wits

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said on Monday it would meet with management of the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) to discuss a new wage offer for striking workers.

The union is demanding a 12 percent increase across the board, increasing wages for the lowest earners to R9,000 a month from R7,500, a rise in the night shift allowance from R360 to R800, and wants the university to directly employ 85 workers currently outsourced via third party labour brokers.

Numsa has rejected the university's initial offer of an eight percent wage increase.

Wits University's new proposal includes an increase of at least seven percent for higher earners, and an increase of 9.2 percent for the lowest paid workers in grade 16 and 17. It also includes a proposal to end the low wages which were paid to workers whose employment was faciliated by labour brokers.

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The university has also proposed establishing a task team to integrate these workers fully into grade 15 by July, bringing the lowest paid workers closer to achieving a "living wage". 

If not resolved, the strike may have an impact on classes when the university opens for the new year on Monday.

Numsa's acting spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said workers would not return until the agreement was signed by all parties.

 "Our members will continue to picket peacefully on campus until the agreement has been formalized.  Only once that is done, will the strike be called off. We will be meeting with management on Monday afternoon to finalize the agreement," Hlubi-Majola said.

Workers affiliated to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) scored a victory last week at the University of South Africa in a deal for permanent and fixed-term employees to receive a salary increase of 7.5 percent.

- African News Agency (ANA)