Exams postponed at Fort Hare university due to strike action

Students at the University of Fort Hare will have to wait until next semester to complete their exams after lecturers and other staff members embarked on strike action on Tuesday.

East London and Alice campuses were brought to a standstill when National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) disrupted exam venues to demand a wage increase, said university spokesperson Khotso Moabi.

He said that negotiations between the union and the university reached a deadlock when Nehawu demanded a 12% wage increase and the university countered with a 6% increase.

Demands also included a notch increase of 5% and a housing allowance of R500, which were both rejected by the university.

"Fort Hare is currently not compensating workers in line with the national market like other 25 universities in the country, thus leading the institution to fail to attract the required quality talent," Nehawu spokesperson Khaya Xaba said.

Xaba said that the relationship between the parties had already been compromised when the university deliberately postponed the bargaining forum since 2017 "without advancing tangible reasons".

Moabi said that no meetings had yet been scheduled with Nehawu, however, the university is open to negotiations.

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