Labour unions say University of South Africa (UNISA) management is playing hide and seek with them. UNISA employees have been on strike since last week demanding a salary increase. They are demanding an 8% wage increase but the university is offering 6.3%.
National, Education, Health and Allied Workers Union NEHAWU’s branch secretary at UNISA, Thembani Baloyi says UNISA is negotiating in bad faith.
“They have taken a stance that they are not going to come back to the table. They want us to go back to work. They want to force us to take the 6.3% which we have told them that it’s negotiating in bad faith because we need to find one another and come up with an amicable solution but up to so far, you can see, we come every day. We have told them that we are available. All they did was to serve us with papers to come to court today. As we are now, we are defending the court interdict that they want to bring to us and nullify the strike.”
The strike has left over 300 000 students stranded as over 7 000 workers, across the country, downed tools. The strike has been going on for almost two weeks now.
Meanwhile, Acting Director for Communications at Unisa Dr Lusani Netshitomboni says the strike is having an adverse impact on the university’s activities. Netshitomboni urges students to make use of online services.
“The impact is very bad because we have a situation where a lot of our students are not able to register because of the strike. You will recall that the initial closing date for the university was the first of February, but of course because of the situation that we are faced with; it was extended to the seventh of February – with the hope that by then – the strike would have been concluded. What is happening is that we are encouraging our students to register online. If you are not able to get to campus to get assistance, go online and finalise your application of registration process.”