University of Cape Town (UCT) staff have had to renegotiate their salary increases for 2016 following last year’s decision not to increase university fees.
The National Health Education and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) said it had been asked to accept an 8% increase for its members at UCT, down from the 10% it negotiated before the protests against university fee increases in October last year.
The Academic Union, which represents UCT’s academic staff, originally expected a 6.8% increase. Talks were reopened and its increase was revised to 5% and signed on 23 December.
Nehawu UCT branch administrator Smartdryck Abrahams said the union’s members had rejected the 8% offer. The parties had met several times to resolve the issue. Another meeting was planned for Monday.
Abrahams said no strikes were planned and negotiations would continue.
UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola told News24: “Due to budgetary challenges resulting from a reduction in government subsidies; the decision not to increase fees in 2016 for South African and African students; and the insourcing of certain services, the university has had to reopen negotiations around salary increases for 2016 and we are committed to concluding the negotiation process as soon as possible.”
UCT’s fee hike would have been 11%. This was dropped to 10.3% after negotiations with the SRC. During the protests students rejected Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s proposed 6% nationwide cap on fee hikes. Eventually, President Jacob Zuma announced a decision to freeze fees.
The lower increase for Academic Union members meant a professor’s salary would increase from R967 265 to R1 015 628 per annum, an associate professor’s from R766 445 to R804 767, a senior lecturer’s from R649 534 to R682 011 and a lecturer’s from R528 275 to R554 689.
Nehawu said although it was disappointing to have to renegotiate its increase, it considered the university’s decision last year to stop outsourcing a great victory. The university decided to stop outsourcing from six companies, and to hire those employees directly.
“Big outsourcing started in 1999, so to us it is a huge victory. Now that we have been successful, we are not going to stop,” said Abrahams.
The UCT Employees Union was still renegotiating its increases for 2016. News24