Unisa employees protest demanding and 8% increase. Picture: Goitsemang Tlhabye

Pretoria - Registration and academic activities have come to a halt at Unisa as university employees demand an 8% salary increase.

Workers under the banners of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers (Nehawu) and the Academic and Professional Staff Association (Apsa) trade unions, spread themselves across the institution's various campuses to ensure there was no entry.

Helen Dladla, a representative of Apsa, said labour had organised itself to strike as the employer was still not willing to give the workers what had been negotiated.

Dladla said Unisa had put 6% on the table across the board, which they were not happy about and even opted to take the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

She said the resolution body had given unions a certificate to strike as workers had called for an 8% increase instead.

Unisa employees protest demanding and 8% increase. Video: Goitsemang Tlhabye


“As organised labour, we are not retreating from our 8% demand as the employer was able to give themselves bonuses and got tenders with the university.”

Ntsako Nombelani, Nehawu National Organiser for Higher Education, said they were optimistic when they took their matter to the CCMA on January 16, as management had offered an improved 6.2%.

Nombelani said, unfortunately, the university had recently back-tracked and gone back to their initial offer of 6%, which they viewed as negotiating in bad faith.

“It is for this reason that workers instructed the unions to seek a certificate of non-resolution and go on strike. It is unfortunate that since the strike action started last Friday, all campuses have been closed.”

“It's not an ideal situation as it compromises the smooth registration process and learning at this institution is the island of hope in the desert of misery for many black children.’

He said they had as yet been unable to meet with the university management, but they were to meet with the management this afternoon to see if there is a way forward.

"We want a 9% increase but we are willing to negotiate. For now, we are grateful that workers are conscious and are not vandalising or destroying university property.

Lusani Netshitomboni, Acting Director for Communications at Unisa, said negotiations were still ongoing even though workers were striking and blocking access to their campuses.

Netshitomboni said although it was unfortunate that their campuses had to be closed they were encouraging students to continue to make use of the online system to register.

He said registrations would be open until Saturday.

Pretoria News