WORKERS at the University of Pretoria could soon join their Unisa counterparts in a strike for higher wages, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) said yesterday.
As the strike at Unisa entered its fourth day yesterday, Nehawu threatened to intensify its strike and mobilise members at other universities.
Nehawu national organiser for higher education Ntsako Nombelani said this was not Unisa’s fight alone and next on the list to strike would be its members at Tuks.
They too, according to Nombelani, were at loggerheads with the university with their wage rates.
“In the next couple of weeks the strike will hit Tuks,” he said.
Workers affiliated to Nehawu at and Tshwane University of Technology managed to score them themselves a good deal during negotiations last year. They agreed on a 7% hike, coupled with numerous benefits. Nombelani said that university was safe from the wage-related strikes.
At Unisa, students were yet again hit as staff at the country’s largest university continued to strike for higher wages.
Those who arrived at the Sunnyside campus to register were left in limbo as workers went into the fourth day of strike.
Workers initially put forward a 12% pay hike demand, while the university offered 7%. The strikers have since lowered their demand to 9%, to no avail. Nombelani said the strike would carry on indefinitely.
Nombelani said if Unisa did not concede to its demand for a 9% increase across the board, the workers would continue the shutdown of all campuses.
“They can afford it, they have reserves and they haven’t presented their statements to say they are in a financial crisis,” he said.
Nombelani said salaries are not the only issue: “It’s more than the 9% workers are demanding. There are transformation issues which we are fighting for, we want to de-Guptarise the council of Unisa because there are people who have been cited in the State of Capture Report, by Amabhungane and the Gupta leaks.
“These people are the ones fighting for these tenders at Unisa,” he said
Hundreds of students were yesterday left frustrated as they couldn’t register.
A student from Mamelodi, Simi Kutumela, said the Unisa online-registrations website was a hassle to use and not user-friendly.