Queueing Unisa students turned away because of strike

2017-01-27 23:00
(Picture: Twitter)

(Picture: Twitter)

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Mbombela - Hundreds of University of South Africa (Unisa) students who joined a registration queue from as early as 05:00 on Thursday in Mbombela were turned away because staff and National Health Education and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) members were on strike.

Registration at Unisa closes on Friday at various campuses.

After arriving early, and in numbers, the students were told at 08:00 that it "is not a working day" for staff. The students were then turned away by security.

"I got here at 6:30 am... I arrived... from Zimbabwe to come to register for my honours in accounting. And the security told me the staff is sitting outside, they are not working today, they are on a strike with their unions," said Muziri Banda.

Nehawu deputy secretary Zola Saphetha said talks between the union and Unisa management had hit a deadlock.

"We shut down the Unisa campuses because of the ongoing salary negotiation. We demanded a 14% increase and the employer presented 4.5%."

"We went down to 10%, but the employer came out with a 6% figure and said it was final. However, when we placed the case with the CCMA, the employer decreased the offer to 5.5% and we deadlocked on that. We expressed our discontent and they finally reverted back to 6%," said Saphetha.

Ongoing talks

"We don't understand the ups and downs of the salary increases when they have R99m which was preserved for the Fees Must Fall reactions, as well as R60m which they donated to build a library for Fort Hare University."

Students wanting to register were upset that the university hadn't informed them about the strike in time.

"We don't understand why they didn't send us messages on the website that we shouldn't come through because they won't be working today. We drove from Mozambique and now we can't even register. Tomorrow they are closing," said BA student Anabella Costas from Matola, Mozambique.

Unisa spokesperson Martin Ramotsela said: "We are mindful of how the registration period is affected by the impact of the strike of our employees and their union. We are currently doing impact assessment. We haven't come to a decision yet, but we are in talks with the stakeholders."

Ramotsela said a decision would be taken soon.

"We want the best interest of our students and we ask them to keep on trying to register online even though our website is experiencing high traffic and malfunctioning," he said.

Read more on:    unisa  |  mbombela  |  education

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