The Durban University of Technology strike has entered its fifth week, after wage talks deadlocked and mediation failed.
University management met with the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) and came before the CCMA for mediation but the party's failed to reach an agreement.
Milton Estrice, spokesperson for the Crisis Committee appointed to facilitate talks between the parties, said the university was not budging on the offer they had been presenting to the workers for the last three weeks since the strike began.
“Management keeps coming with a fixed offer ad telling us it’s their final offer, meaning there is no room for negotiation, whereas the staff has been willing to negotiate. Talks collapsed because of this lack of cooperation from the side of DUT,” said Estrice.
A week ago, the university beefed up security. Tensions came to a head when security guards fired rubber bullets, injuring striking workers.
In anticipation of a repeat of these clashes, there was a heavy police presents outside the university on Monday.
However staff marched from campuses to campus peacefully.
In an email sent to The Mercury, DUT management was adamant that the university’s academic year would start on Tuesday, despite the wage dispute not being resolved.
Some students said said they had registered successfully and expected to start lectures as planned despite many of the lecturers being on strike.
Speaking for Nehawu, Mike Mbatha said that although the university had employed temporary staff there were roles which could only be fulfilled by staff who were on strike.
“Lecturers are also participating in the wage strike, support staff as well. It’s unclear how lectures will resume tomorrow, because if a wage agreement is not reached today, our members will take to the streets tomorrow as well,” said Mbatha.