Unisa offices in KZN shut as academics join Nehawu strike

2013-04-20 00:00

A STRIKE on Unisa campuses spread to KwaZulu-Natal yesterday, closing offices across the province.

Students have been advised to use online facilities to submit assignments and to complete second semester registration through the student portal myUnisa.

KZN Unisa spokesperson Gcina Nhleko said the strike action came after failed salary negotiations between management and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu).

Academics have joined the strike.

“The annual salary negotiations, which have been in progress at the Unisa bargaining forum since January 29, have resulted in an official dispute by organised labour.”

She said the matter was referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, but without success.

Nehawu KZN shop steward Mxolisi Mkhize said the union wanted salary increases of 11,5%, while Unisa was offering 5,6%.

Mkhize said there had been a complete shutdown at the campuses in Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Richards Bay, Newcastle and the Wild Coast.

“This is the first time that we’re joined by the academics. Unfortunately, all the students were sent home.”

KZN joined the strike yesterday. Staff in Pretoria went on strike on Tuesday.

“There’s no work, no pay. But we don’t care. We’re sympathetic to the students, but there’s nothing we can do,” Mkhize said, adding that the only people working were security guards.

Students representative council spokesperson Thelani Mkhize said the students were in solidarity with the workers, even though the strike would affect them.

“There are classes that I fear will be locked because you need permission from staff to open them and we’re about to write exams.”

Nhleko denied that any students were turned away.

“There has been a slowdown in service delivery. We therefore advise students to use alternative ways to reach us.”

Unisa said lessons would not be affected. It used independent tutors who were not full-time employees for certain subjects and they were not part of the industrial action.

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