DUT students deliver demands as staff’s wage deadlock continues

2018-02-22 13:55
Durban University of Technology students on Wednesday took to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with the services rendered to them during the staff strike.

Durban University of Technology students on Wednesday took to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with the services rendered to them during the staff strike. (Supplied)

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IRATE students at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) took to the streets on Wednesday to protest against the wage deadlock between the institution and its employees.

Last week DUT announced that all lectures were suspended until further notice because the two parties could not reach an agreement.

DUT spokesperson Noxolo Memela said yesterday the students held a peaceful protest “to express their dissatisfaction with the services rendered to them during the staff strike”.

Memela said the DUT management held a meeting with the Student Representative Council (SRC) yesterday morning to discuss concerns it had raised. “Both parties agreed to devise plans that will address the challenges,” said Memela.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) at DUT, Mike Mbatha, told News24 that the situation had been worsened by the docking of staff salaries because of the strike.

“Workers are angered and, without an explanation, will have to go home with almost empty wallets,” Mbatha explained.

Nehawu’s provincial seceretary Phakama Ndunakazi added that the salaries of some of the workers who were not striking were also docked.

Memela said that when the three labour unions issued their intent to strike due to the salary impasse, DUT management had indicated that the “no work no pay” principle would be implemented.

DUT’s South African Students Congress (Sasco) branch secretary Sibusiso Mabaso told The Witness that DUT students from all its campuses had gathered in Durban yesterday.

They protested and delivered a memorandum on their demands to the DUT vice-chancellor Professor Thandwa Mthembu.

The memorandum included a demand that all unregistered students be registered immediately, that students be allocated available student residences and that meal, transport and book allowances be paid out to students.

“We will continue to protest until our demands are met. Since classes have been suspended we have been left hanging and we, as the students, are the ones who actually suffer the most in this whole situation,” said Mabaso.

However, negotiations remain deadlocked.

The three unions rejected the university’s 6,5% increase on basic salary as well as a 6,5% increase on the monthly housing allowance. The university has rejected the labour unions’ demand for a once-off bonus, or 14th cheque.

“DUT management receives a mandate for the annual salary increment from the University Council, and that mandate has been presented to the unions. The offer of a 6,5% increase is already compromising the finances of the university by putting it into a R12 million deficit for 2018,” Memela said.


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