Nehawu shuts down Unisa

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The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has shut down the University of South Africa (Unisa). This follows a wage dispute that has since led to a full-blown strike at Unisa.

On Monday, a graduation ceremony was disrupted and future planned ceremonies scheduled for this week had to be postponed.

Unisa has postponed all planned graduation ceremonies and lectures due to the ongoing wage dispute. Nehawu affiliated workers are fighting for wage increases.

The workers have disrupted services including a graduation ceremony, leading desperate graduates to take pictures in the streets to honour their big day.

However, photographers came to their rescue. “This situation is so painful because some of the students are crying they were looking forward to taking pictures for memories. As professional photographers, we are also crying with them. That’s the reason we are here outside,” explains one of the photographers.

Nehawu says management failed to honour a signed wage agreement. They are accusing Unisa management of not respecting the rights of workers and the right to collective bargaining.

Unisa Nehawu Chairperson Lunathi Hontoti says, “There’s an agreement that we have between ourselves and the employer, signed on 16 January. That agreement seeks to suggest that what was done for other colleagues as well as academics will be done for the administrative and support staff.”

Unisa has condemned the graduation disruptions. The university has however committed to continuing talks with the labour union to end the impasse.

No violence or acts of vandalism were reported as workers staged a peaceful protest.

VIDEO: Planned graduation ceremonies suspended at UNISA due to staff protest over salaries:

Unisa management has apologised to its graduates and guests who were inconvenienced by the disruption of the graduation ceremony on Tuesday.

The university says management is in conversation with Nehawu about the issues in dispute, as well as the rules of engagement when employees exercise their right to protest.

The university says it will make alternative arrangements for the graduates. Pending graduation ceremonies have been postponed until further notice.