Hundreds of DUT workers go on strike

Durban – Hundreds of Durban University of Technology (DUT) staff members embarked on a combined union strike on Monday, labelling their vice chancellor as aloof and "not on the ground".

The strike, organised by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), National Health Education & Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and Tertiary Education National Union of SA (Tenusa), saw staff gather outside Vice Chancellor Thandwa Mthembu's office.

Speaking on behalf of the unions, shop steward Milton Estrice told News24 that staff were mainly unhappy about a salary issue that was meant to be finalised as early as September 2017.

"This new management has employed another way of dealing with salary negotiations that has led to a deadlock and as a result, as staff, we had no option but to go to the CCMA for a strike certificate and demonstrate to management that without staff there can be no university."

Estrice said there had been little communication with Mthembu since he took office in 2016.

He said staff felt bullied and believed high-handedness was being used.

"They are not taking care of the staff morale. Staff morale is at an all-time low, we’re talking about unilateral restructuring, we’re talking about the vice chancellor's closed-door policy where he’s distant from the people on the ground."

No mutual resolution achieved

He added that staff had to "go through many doors" to get to management.

"It’s not good for an institution that’s supposed to be people-driven and is supposed to be rendering a service to the community. You don’t need a structure that is so hierarchical that the top people are not in touch with the people on the ground."

Estrice said that the unions were open to discussion, but had to first get an audience with Mthembu and upper management.

"The vice chancellor was meant to receive our memorandum today, but at the last minute indicated he could not make it."

Estrice said workers would continue the strike until their demands were met.

Meanwhile, DUT spokesperson Noxolo Memela conceded that the university had not concluded 2018 salary negotiations in time for implementation on January 1.

She said the university had met with the aggrieved worker representatives, having "several meetings", with no mutual resolution.

"DUT management remains committed to resolving this impasse as soon as possible, particularly because this is a critical time of the year for the university.

"The university wishes to apologise for the inconvenience that the current industrial action may cause for students, parents, staff and other key stakeholders."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nappies, they cost too much
7% - 304 votes
Formula and food, it's getting so expensive
18% - 812 votes
Creche and school fees are a struggle every month
76% - 3492 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.86
+1.4%
Rand - Pound
19.79
+0.3%
Rand - Euro
16.79
+0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.18
+0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+1.0%
Gold
1,841.55
+1.4%
Silver
21.92
+2.4%
Palladium
2,008.00
-0.4%
Platinum
966.50
+3.0%
Brent Crude
109.11
-2.6%
Top 40
61,726
-1.3%
All Share
68,246
-1.2%
Resource 10
71,337
-0.6%
Industrial 25
75,802
-1.3%
Financial 15
15,729
-1.9%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE