The DUT Vice- Chancellor calls on workers to return to their jobs. Photo: File.
DURBAN - The Vice-Chancellor of the Durban University of Technology, Professor Thandwa Mthembu has called on staff to suspend the strike to save the first semester of university.

Mthembu has urged staff to return back to work while salary negotiations are being settled. DUT workers are on strike for a salary increase as well as other benefits like 14th cheques and housing subsides.

The strike, now in its sixth week has resulted in lectures being suspended. University lectures were supposed to resume on the 5th of February 2018.

Despite the strike, the university has managed to registered 22980 students as of this morning.

Vice-Chancellor of the university said: "Many of our students at DUT come from poor and working-class backgrounds and this staff strike is having a negative effect on them and their families."

The current salary negotiations are at an impasse, after the unions rejected the university's final offer of 6,5% increase on their basic salary as well as the 6,5% increase in housing allowance.

Mthembu said meeting the full demands of the workers would cost R62 million - If the university pay that money, they would be in the red.

There have also been rumours that the students were involved in the strike, however the rumour has been refuted by the university's registrar, Thenjiwe Meyiwa.

According to Meyiwa, the Student Representative Council had met with DUT management where the student organisation noted that they were concerned about the strike but at the end of the day, had the interests of the students at heart.

Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Buti Manamela was supposed to visit the university but held back, awaiting the result of a meeting between the NEHAWU provincial leadership.

The Deputy Minister will now visit the university next Tuesday.