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Eighth week on strike at Durban University of Technology

Zimbili Vilakazi, Bonile Khanyi and Thabo Mohlala

The strike over pay by staff at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) has entered its eighth week.

A statement issued by Senior Director of Corporate Affairs Alan Khan on Friday read: “After three days of another mediation process presided over by the Commissioners from the CCMA, negotiations between the DUT and the three labour unions (Nehawu, Tenusa, Nteu) could not be concluded … All stakeholders will report to their principals on Monday … All negotiating parties will reconvene again on Wednesday morning, 7 March 2018. Lectures at DUT will resume on Monday, 5 March 2018.”

But on Monday, lectures did not take place.

In February, the Deputy Minister for Higher Education, Buti Manamela, took to Twitter to announce a breakthrough in the DUT strike.

“DUT and the Unions agree to go back to negotiations after a five-hour meeting. The parties will resume talks tomorrow morning. Classes will resume by the end of the week and registration will be finalised ASAP,” said Manamela.

The deputy minister was asked to intervene after the university implemented a lockout last Friday. His involvement came after calls were made from the public that DHET should mediate to end the protracted strike which is entering its 7th week.

However, on Monday, the Regional Secretary of Nehawu Ayanda Zulu addressed employees at Cane Growers’ Hall  and distanced the union from Khan’s statement which claimed, “Lectures at DUT will resume on Monday, 5 March 2018″.

Zulu said, “The university offered a 7% salary increase, R200 housing allowance increase and zero once-off bonus. The employees have rejected that offer.” He said the employees are demanding 8.5% salary increase, R400 housing allowance increase, and a R9 000 once-off bonus.

“If the university does not give in to our demand on Wednesday latest, we will be going on a full blown strike on Friday where we will march from King Dinizulu Park to the Durban City Hall,” said Zulu.

Inside Education is waiting for comment from higher education’s deputy minister.

The ongoing strike has seen more than 21,000 students unable to go to lectures at DUT campuses – City, ML Sultan, Ritson, Steve Biko, Indumiso, Riverside and Brickfield.

Parts of the story were reported by GroundUp

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