Several hundred strike at Wits

2012-08-02 14:45

Johannesburg - Three unions representing Wits University staff members went on strike on Thursday, disrupting some university activities.

"We have demonstrated that the university cannot operate without our members," said David Dickenson of the Academic Staff Association of Wits.

The security boom gates at Wits University were unmanned and open and at least one university library was closed.

The one-day strike follows a breakdown of negotiations between unions and Wits management.

The academics are arguing that Wits has not lived up to the agreement to pay researchers competitive salaries.

National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) Wits chairperson Richard Sidiki said his members wanted a 9% increase for the lowest paid staff member.

Sidiki showed reporters his own payslip that showed he earned only R3 000 a month as his basic salary.

Several hundred staff members gathered outside the Wits Great Hall for a demonstration in support of the strike.

Wits vice chancellor Loyiso Nongxa watched the demonstration from the sidelines.

He told Sapa the university had been negotiating with unions when they walked out abruptly.

"They decided to walk out," Nongxa said.

He said the unions and management had already agreed on 98% of their issues.

Nongxa said management was also concerned about how the strike would damage the university's reputation.

"I am concerned about our reputation, but we cannot be coerced into something that is unsustainable," he said.

  • dianne.neyt - 2012-08-02 15:05

    So what's new ?

  • shellerjc.rjc - 2012-08-02 15:08

    New National Sport, this should be allowed in the Olympics. South Africa would bring home plenty more Gold as SA must be top of the list.

  • kevin.pitzer - 2012-08-02 15:10

    If R 3000 is the gross salary without bonus then surely this is really low for academics doing research work.

      Antipoaching - 2012-08-02 15:37

      As a NEHAWU member this guy is more likely to be on the admin side of the University Kevin.... cleaner/grounds etc... even so R3 000.00 as a gross salary for a uni the size of Wits seems low. What is interesting is that the strike appears to have covered a wide spectrum of Wits staff, its not just academics or above or below a certain pay grade..... I think those of us who work at others Universities should watch this with interest

      gaby.hide.3 - 2012-08-02 17:18

      My domestic earns more than that!

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