Lectures, as well as a graduation ceremony, have been disrupted at the University of South Africa (Unisa) in Pretoria on Tuesday.
Unisa support staff have embarked on a protest. They have accused university management of reneging on a salary adjustment agreement that it entered into with workers in September last year.
Workers represented by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) are currently meeting the Unisa vice-chancellor and university management.
Nehawu’s Thembani Valoyi says, “In February they did not pay us the money from September because they had promised to pay us the money from September to January. They only paid us the money and adjusted our salaries for February to a new salary scale with a different percentile. Others getting 3%, other 7% only for us to wake up yesterday and find [that] they have reversed that salary increase back to the 2021 salaries.”
In the video below, catering workers at Unisa protest over unpaid wages:
Support staff have warned of further disruptions to academic activities if the university management does not honour an agreement to pay workers adjusted salaries.
A graduation ceremony which was to be held in the ZK Mathews Hall was allegedly disrupted by protesting workers. Workers union Nehawu says their adjusted salaries which were paid had been reversed and reverted to last year’s salaries. Unisa management has not been available for comment.
Nehawu’s Thembani Valoyi says, “The University is at a standstill. There are no workers that are working. Lecturers are also not working they are together with us. Because of the decision that they took yesterday they also reversed the money of academics that they paid in September. The mandate is clear from the workers that if the talks do not yield any positive results we are going to continue to picket and demonstrate.”
In October 2021, catering workers at Unisa were frustrated after not being paid for close to two years.
They staged a protest, demanding to be made permanent.
They claim that they were promised to be absorbed into permanent structures early last year, but this agreement has still not been honoured.