WSU confirms end to prolonged strike

By Drum Digital
06 September 2013

Management at the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) have agreed with unions to end the six-week strike at the institution, WSU announced on Friday.

The university agreed with unions Nehawu and the National Tertiary Education Union to end the labour impasse that was declared on July 23, WSU spokeswoman Angela Church said in a statement.

"Discussions on the implementation of the proposals made by management this week are underway today.

"An official announcement will only be made when the final agreement is signed off," she said.

Earlier, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) declared the strike over.

The strike ended with an agreement that would "see workers receive a five percent annual increase backdated to January 1".

Workers were expected to return to work on Monday and classes to resume.

The deal included, among others, that an audit firm would be appointed to conduct a further audit on the process of migration into new salary scales.

"It was also agreed that a once-off opportunity to migrate to a preferred retirement fund will be accorded to members of staff and that presentations will be done to enable staff to make an informed choice," Nehawu said.

When the strike began, the unions were demanding an eight to 10 percent salary hike.

Higher education director general Gwebs Qonde said recently the university could only afford to pay staff, including lecturers, a 4.25 percent salary increase.

He said the university was technically and commercially bankrupt, after an administrator -- appointed in June 2011 -- found the university was bankrupt and battled to meet payroll commitments.

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane was appointed by President Jacob Zuma to investigate the problems that led to the indefinite closure of the institution .

The university closed its doors last Wednesday following volatility associated with the prolonged strike.

Organisations, such as the SA Council of Churches in Mthatha, called for Zuma's intervention as the situation deteriorated.

Students at that time protested and clashed with police. At least a dozen were injured during the confrontations.

-SAPA

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