Higher education dept intervenes in Fort Hare wage impasse

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The Higher Education Department says it’s engaging with stakeholders at Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape to find a lasting solution to the eight week-long strike over wages.

Workers belonging to trade union Nehawu are demanding a 9% wage increase. They have rejected the institution’s 7.5% increase plus a R3 000 once-off payment.

Students have not been able to finish their mid-year exams due to the strike.

On Tuesday, students barricaded the R63 near the Alice Campus to demand urgent intervention in the matter.

The department’s Director-General, Gwebindlala Qonde says: “I think it must be understood that Fort Hare has increased salaries above average in respect to other institutions in the country, including above what government has actually offered towards wages across the board.”

“This situation is putting Fort Hare in a dire situation in terms of budgetary arrangements so it’s quite important for us to look into the situation and workout mechanisms of ensuring that the institution is saved,” says Qonde.

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