Nehawu ends strike at UP after reaching deal with university

2017-05-31 18:16
Nehawu protest at UP. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

Nehawu protest at UP. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

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Pretoria - Following a week-long strike by the National Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) at the University of Pretoria (UP) over a salary increase, among other things, an agreement has finally been reached.

Nehawu embarked on the strike last Friday, demanding a 13th cheque, an 8% salary increase, and better medical aid. Negotiations with the university have been ongoing, but reached a deadlock more than once since the strike started.

On Tuesday, Nehawu and the university signed a memorandum of agreement that an offer of 7%, with a once off payment of R3 000, will hold for all UP staff in post levels 5 to 10.

The university also agreed to a 7.5% increase and a R3 000 once-off payment for staff members at post levels 11 to 17.

Additionally, the university agreed that Nehawu and other labour unions would be able to participate in the appointment of a medical aid broker.

'Extremely victorious'

Another point of contention was the establishment of a 13th cheque. UP and Nehawu agreed that a 13th cheque would be phased in over a period of four years, by deducting a percentage from the annual negotiated salary increase.

"The university believes that the agreement is reasonable and fair, given the current economic conditions to ensure the institution's financial sustainability," said UP spokesperson Candice Jooste.

Ntsako Nombelani, Nehawu's national organiser for higher education, said the union and UP had concluded a salary agreement after "extremely hostile conditions, where members were set against police and imposed with a court interdict, [with] members being racially abused and isolated.

"We remained resilient and unshaken, as we always believed that our demands were genuine," said Nombelani.

"Our members returned to work on Tuesday extremely victorious after the employer conceded on our demands, and for the first time in the history of UP, members will have a choice on medical aid schemes, [have a] 13th cheque [and] better living wages."

He said salary negotiations for 2018 would start in August.

Read more on:    up  |  nehawu  |  pretoria  |  university protests  |  labour action

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