Striking Unisa staff prevented from blocking entrances to campus
They may also not protest closer than 100m from Unisa’s premises.
The university approached the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on an urgent basis as it feared the protesting union members would disrupt the registration process by the students.
The court was also told there was an international piano competition under way at the Muckleneuk campus which had been disrupted due to the unlawful protest.
Unisa said it was experiencing protest action by organised labour, but wage negotiations were taking place with a view to reaching an amicable agreement as soon as possible.
Students were encouraged to apply and register online while the university was affected by the staff strike.
Unisa said in court papers that some staff members went on strike on Friday. This week they barricaded the entrances to the main campus and thus prevented students who wanted to register, non-striking staff and the public from entering the university.
Dr Phasoane Mokgobu, one of Unisa’s vice-principals, said in a statement before court that there was an earlier labour court order which stated that the staff had to first enter into negotiations with the university before going on strike. They also had to comply with agreed picketing rules.
This order was reached by agreement with their unions, but it was now being ignored by the strikers, he said.
Mokgobu said the conduct by striking union members of blocking access to Unisa’s campus constituted intimidation tactics. The police could not act without a court order. However, this week’s order now entitled them to act against the strikers.
Mokgobu said he presented the striking staff with a proposal to address their grievances and called on them to return to work as their conduct was adversely affecting students who wanted to register for the new academic year. Judge Colleen Collis called on the unions - the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union and the Academic and Professional Staff Association Union - to state on March 4 why the interim order should not be made final.