Unisa workers threaten march

2010-06-25 12:38

National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu)

members on strike at the University of South Africa (Unisa) have threatened to

march to the offices of Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande next week if

their wage demands were not met.

Nehawu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said today: “Unisa management

refuses to even take time to address workers on this issue.”

The workers went on strike on Wednesday after Unisa refused their

demand of a 12% across the board salary increase.

The university has offered

8.5%.

On Wednesday, the union asked Unisa’s newly appointed

vice-chancellor Professor Mandla Makhanya to explain the university’s stance to

workers.

Pamla said salary negotiations had been going on for six months:

“If by Monday Makhanya has not responded to our request, we will march to

Nzimande’s office in Pretoria to demand his intervention on the matter.”

The march would take place on Wednesday.

Unisa spokesperson Doreen Gough said: “Yes, the strike is going on

in all centres today but student services are continuing.”

She said Nehawu’s planned march to Nzimande’s office “has nothing

to do with us”.

Another Unisa spokesperson Lehuma Ntuane said Nehawu represented

only 27% of staff and that university services were, therefore, expected to run

smoothly throughout the strike.

The “no work, no pay” principle applied.

He said Nehawu had until Monday to return to the negotiating table,

failing which the 8.5% offer would be implemented.

“This is our final offer. It is not only generous, but much higher

than what other tertiary institutions have agreed on,” he said.

Bonuses and pay progression were not ordinarily paid at tertiary

institutions and should be seen as an additional benefit for Unisa employees, he

said.



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