Unisa protest continues indefinitely after CCMA intervention fails


Zodidi Mhlana

JOHANNESBURG- The National, Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says that its strike at the Universality of South African (Unisa) will continue indefinitely after the two parties failed to reach an agreement on Monday evening.

Nehawu spokesperson Khaya Xaba on Wednesday said that negotiations held at the Commission of Conciliation, mediation and arbitration failed to yield any positive results.

“The talks that we had on Monday night collapsed. We could not find each other and they collapsed which means that the strike continues. We’ve tried everything in our power to find common ground with the university, but from where are standing, they are not willing to give workers what is due to them. From where I’m standing, the strike will continue indefinitely,” he said.

Nehawu members downed tools on Wednesday last week demanding a 12% increase, while the university is offering 7%. The union said that members were not willing to accept any offer below 12%.

Xaba said that the union was also demanding that the university should permanently employ workers who have been on contracts since 2014.

“The talks collapsed because workers are adamant that they want 12%, but the university is offering 7%. They are not willing to meet us half way. They are also not willing to absorb the contract workers; these are the sticking points. When the university has a revised offer, they should be able to meet us. We have an open door policy, we always available to engage them. We are happy with the impact of the strike and the discipline of members and we hope that they will keep the discipline up until the end,” he said.

Last week, the university went to court in a bid to nullify the strike, but the court ruled in favour of the union.

Xaba said that the institution should be able to meet the demands as it has billions of rands in reserves.

“They say that they can’t meet our demands, pleading poverty. But, we know for a fact that they are being disingenuous, Unisa attracts and registers more than 400 000 students and they are sitting on more half a 500billion in reserves,” Xaba added.