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Fedusa calls for the minister’s intervention in DUT wage issue

Bonile Khanyi

The Federation of Unions South Africa (Fedusa) last week urged Higher Education and Training Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize to intervene in a strike by workers at the Durban University of Technology in KwaZulu-Natal.

Speaking to Inside Education, Fedusa’s spokesperson Frank Nxumalo said the union had written an urgent letter to the Higher Education and Training Minister asking her to intervene in the wage negotiations between three unions and the institution.

“Last week, we sent an urgent letter to the Minister asking her to intervene, because the strike has been going on for far too long, and the longer it takes, the longer it takes for the academic programme to begin, which is affecting students,” said Nxumalo.

Nxumalo also said staff members were also affected because of the no work, no pay policy.

“Yesterday, one of the staff members showed me his pay slip and a certain amount had already been deducted, because of the no work, no pay policy,” said Nxumalo.

Nxumalo said the minister responded to their request and delegated the Director General of Higher Education and Training, Mr Gwebinkundla Qonde to assist them. 

The strike entered its sixth week on Monday, after the negotiations between the university management and the Unions reached a deadlock with the university’s management offering a 6.5% increase in basic salary and a 6.5% housing allowance‚ without a once-off bonus, while the unions are demanding an 8% increase and a R350 hike in the housing allowance.

The university has since announced it has suspended all its academic programmes until further notice.

DUT’s executive committee of Senate made the announcement last week Friday.

In a statement issued by the university, DUT’s spokesperson Alan Khan said the university will announce its revised 2018 academic calendar this week and that although the academic programme was suspended, the institution remains operational.

The university apologised for any inconvenience caused and urged the students who have not registered to do so online or at the Riverside campus in Pietermaritzburg and at any of the Durban registration venues.

“DUT would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused during this challenging time. The University would like to thank all its stakeholders for their continued understanding, support and patience. DUT remains committed to resolving the current salary deadlock. Both staff and students are urged to keep checking the DUT website for all official University announcements,” said Khan.

“Students who have not yet registered, can still register online, via the DUT website, www.dut.ac.za or alternatively, in person, at the Riverside Campus in Pietermaritzburg or at any of the Durban registration venues. Students can email info@dut.ac.za for assistance with registration or call 0313735005 during office hours.”

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