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Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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DUT resumes classes amidst worker protest

Bonile Khanyi

The Durban University of Technology (DUT) on Tuesday said lectures commenced without any disruptions despite the ongoing protests on campus.

This comes after the university’s management announced a decision on Monday to start the academic year on Tuesday amidst a wage dispute which has not been resolved.

Workers affiliated to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), the Tertiary Education National Union of South Africa (TENUSA) and the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) have been protesting over wages for more than a month.

On Monday, protesters gathered at the Steve Biko Campus courtyard, chanting and dancing to revolutionary songs while waiting for their representatives to address them after talks between the university’s management and the parties reached a deadlock despite four days of mediation by the CCMA.

According to media reports, Milton Estrice, a spokesperson for the Crisis Committee appointed to facilitate the wage negotiations between the two parties, said the university refused to change its salary offer.  

“Management keeps coming with a fixed offer and telling us it’s their final offer, meaning there is no room for negotiation, whereas the staff has been willing to negotiate. Talks collapsed because of this lack of cooperation from the side of DUT,” said Estrice.

Workers are demanding a 10% increase on their basic salary, R400 increase on the monthly housing allowance and a R9000 once-off bonus (14th cheque).

However, the university is offering a 6.5% increase for both basic salaries and housing allowances and no once-off bonus.

In a statement issued on Monday, DUT’s spokesperson Alan Khan said that the university’s management is working with the student representative council (SRC) to ensure that they help students to register over the next few days.

He also said that despite the challenges of the ongoing strike, the University has registered more than 18 000 students for the 2018 academic year.

Meanwhile, students who have not yet registered have been urged to do so online via the DUT website www.dut.ac.za, or in person at the Riverside campus in Pietermaritzburg or at one of our registration venues in Durban.

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