OPERATIONS have returned to normal at Unisa.     Thobile Mathonsi  African News Agency (ANA)
OPERATIONS have returned to normal at Unisa. Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)

Unisa gears for shutdown after workers reject wage increase offer

By GOITSEMANG TLHABYE Time of article published Feb 14, 2020

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Pretoria - Unisa might be facing yet another shutdown as the deadlock in staff wage negotiations continue.

The university has extended registration periods in light of protest action which saw the campuses shut down for two weeks.

No agreement has yet been reached between the university management and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and the Academic and Professional Associations over workers’ wage increments for the year.

Following an appearance with the Labour Court on February 7, the parties were given the option to meet and make sure within 72 hours that a settlement was reached.

And while workers have returned to work and campuses across the city have reopened, Unisa spokesperson Lusani Netshitomboni said negotiations were continuing, with further meetings to be held today.

Netshitomboni indicated the university would only be able to give a clear way forward once the meetings were concluded.

However, the union leadership at the university said they had already reissued a notice for workers to resume the strike action.

Ntsako Nombelani, Nehawu national organiser for higher education, said they had given the university the certificate to strike should there be no resolution after today’s meeting.

Nombelani said the parties could not meet due to the unavailability of the private mediator.

He said it was unfair for Unisa to offer employees increases lower than what other universities were offering.

“All we are asking for is R42 million and then we can say we are moving forward. Other universities are offering at least 7%, so why not Unisa?

“We will be meeting the management to find a way forward, but if there is no agreement after that meeting, we will have to resume the strike on February 17.”

Unions are calling for a salary increase of at least 8.3% to 9%, while the university has stated it could not move higher than 6.3% from its initial offer of 6%.

Pretoria News

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