Registration extended at Unisa

2020-02-12 06:03
PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaPublic Order Police try to open the road that was blocked by students with burning tyres on Monday.

PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaPublic Order Police try to open the road that was blocked by students with burning tyres on Monday.

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“WE have reached a dead-end,” –These are the words of Unisa employees who are currently on strike over a salary increment.

Employees have been on strike since January 23 which has caused delays and disruptions of students’ registration.

The registration was meant to close on January 31, but it has since been extended to February 7 due to the strike.

Nehawu representative at Unisa, Mxolisi Mkhize, who is also one of the employees said they want a 9% increase, but the employer is only offering them 5.5%.

He said their initial demand was 10% and the employer offered them 6%.

“We negotiated and have reduced our demand, but we can’t accept 5.5%. We are still willing to negotiate with the employer until we reach an agreement.

“We are ready to resume work at anytime as long as the employer is willing to meet us halfway. Then, we can start registering students immediately. We are even willing to work until 10pm and on Saturday to make sure that the students are assisted, but that’s only if the employer gives us what we want,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of staff, Mkhize said they feel as if they have reached a dead-end as these negotiations and discussions have been ongoing.

He previously told Echo that the salary negotiations started in October last year, however an agreement was not reached.

He said when the university opened in January they decided to return to work and assist students in the hope that they will receive the increase they asked for when received their salaries.

“When we realised that there was no difference in our salaries we decided strike. The registration closing date was approaching and the employer was turning a blind eye on our demands.

Mkhize also revealed that they are angry with law enforcement officials that came into the university last Thursday and shot one of their employees with a rubber bullet.

“We are not violent. The employee was sitting under a tree and not protesting. We have never taken our protest to the streets as that is not who we are.”

He said the staff who was shot, Thuso Msiya, is a Comrades Marathon athlete and he will not be able to run any time soon as the ‘rubber bullet is still stuck inside’.

“We have opened a criminal case against the police officers who came to the university and shot our members,” he said.

Unisa spokesperson confirmed that no agreement has been reached between the employer and the employees.

However he said the employer is offering 6.3% not 5.5%.

“Negotiations are ongoing as well as the strike. We have been informed by the university management that the offer by the employer is 6,3%, but organised labour demands revised 8% having moved from the original demand of 15%.

“An independent mediator has been appointed but no agreement has been reached so far,” he said.

While the employees are on strike the students are also on strike since January 27. On Monday they burnt the tyres on Langalibalele Street demanding the university to write off their historical debt and have student’s registrations who are funded by NSFAS finalised.

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