DUT students threaten shutdown 'if management doesn't resolve staff's salary strike soon'

2018-02-21 21:59
DUT students are threatening to shut down the institution if management does not resolve the ongoing staff strike over salaries soon. (Supplied)

DUT students are threatening to shut down the institution if management does not resolve the ongoing staff strike over salaries soon. (Supplied)

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Durban – Durban University of Technology (DUT) students have threatened to shut down the institution if its management does not resolve the ongoing staff strike over salaries soon.

The six-week strike by members of the National Tertiary Education Union, the National Health Education and Allied Workers' Union and the Tertiary Education National Union of South Africa has led to the suspension of classes at the university.

On Wednesday, students protested at the university's main campuses, including the City and Steve Biko campuses.

The demonstrations were organised by the South African Students Congress' (Sasco) KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee.

Mqondisi Duma, Sasco's provincial secretary, told News24 that one of the main reasons behind the threat of a shutdown was to force management to re-open negotiations with all unions.

"They must find an amicable solution and allow students to study. Our students are currently stuck at residences since they are not attending classes but at the end of the month they are expected to pay their monthly school fees for doing nothing," said Duma.

READ: Classes suspended at DUT

He called on the national and provincial government to investigate the institution's department of finance, human resource management and procurement.

"We believe that these departments are a driving force behind the strike. They must explain what's happening with the monies of the institution because our reliable sources have told us that there's corruption at those departments," he said.

Mass meetings planned

Duma revealed that out of the 29 500 students who were expected to register at the university, only half of that number had been registered.

"We will close all campuses if management doesn't find an amicable solution to the strike or if they don't allow us to continue with our studies," he said.

He added that there would be mass meetings at campuses in Durban and Pietermaritzburg on Thursday morning

On Wednesday police monitored the students' demonstration until they dispersed.

Alan Khan, senior director of corporate affairs at DUT, said management held a meeting with the student representative council on Wednesday to discuss their concerns.

"Both parties agreed to devise plans that will address the challenges that were raised. To date, the university has registered 22 797 students and 6 320 of those students are first-year registrations," he said.

Khan said negotiations between the staff's labour unions and DUT management remained deadlocked.

"The three unions rejected the university's 6.5% increase on basic salary as well as a 6.5% increase for the monthly housing allowance. The university has not accepted the three labour unions demand for a once-off bonus (14th cheque).

He said management was pleading and urging unions to consider suspending the strike during the negotiations "in order to ensure that teaching and learning at the university takes place".

Read more on:    dut  |  durban  |  protests

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