UNISA under administration

UNISA in Tshwane, Gauteng. Image via: Wikipedia.org

Wage strike: Unisa still at loggerheads with workers

The tertiary has recruited the services of an independent negotiator to break the impasse.

UNISA under administration

UNISA in Tshwane, Gauteng. Image via: Wikipedia.org

The 2020 curriculum at the University of South Africa (Unisa) has not kicked off as yet. Unlike other tertiary institutions that have already commenced with the year’s classes, Unisa’s Durban campus is still without workers.

More than 4 000 employees embarked on a wage strike last week. The staffers downed tools around the same time Unisa students were at loggerheads with the institution over its historic debt policies and how it affects registration.

As reported by SABC News, the workers are demanding a salary increase within the finite 8.9 to 9% range. However, Unisa has remained footed on its counteroffer of 6.3%, which is more than 2% lower than the workers’ demands.

Unisa pushes students towards online registration amid wage impasse

According to Unisa’s acting Director of Communications Lusani Netshitomboni, the impasse has rendered the Durban campus inoperable and as a last resort, the institution has recruited the services of an independent negotiator to try and reach a settlement with the workers as soon as possible.

“There have been ongoing discussions and engagements with the unions, but unfortunately there is a deadlock and as a result, the strike is still on. The university at the last meeting put on the table a 6.3% increase and the unions rejected that because they are demanding anything from 8.3 to 9%. Furthermore, the University has approved the appointment of an independent facilitator to try and break the deadlock but as we pursue that, the strike is still ongoing,” he said.

Netshitomboni admitted that the workers’ strike, at this stage, is outside of their control. He did reveal, however, that students are allowed to register online in the interim, a measure that will ensure continuity of service while solutions to the wage strike are being fast-tracked.

“A lot of our students that would normally come to campus across the country to register because they might not have access to data or computers, those are affected. We are saying to those who have access to any means of registering online, we are encouraging them to register online whilst the strike is actually going on,” he added.

Consequently, the registration process has been extended and the last day will be on Friday 7 February.

Tensions are still high at UKZN

Elsewhere in Durban, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has not been able to contain the student riots that have halted registration and curriculum proceedings at the Howard College campus.

On Monday, violence broke out in a confrontation between police and students after a campus security guard was assaulted.

“This morning at 09:00, a group of students blockaded the entrance at UKZN Edgewood campus, and attempted to petrol bomb the dining hall and security guard vehicle,” police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said in a statement.

Police are in search of those responsible for the attack of the guard, as well as the perpetrators who torched the campus’ Risk Management Services building last week.