The National Health Education and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has tabled a demand of a 7.5 percent salary increase to the management of the Rhodes University after wage negotiations between the two parties deadlocked.
The union last week filed a notice to embark on a three-day protected industrial action after it rejected a revised offer of a five-percent salary adjustment for 2017.
Nehawu is demanding the improvement of salaries by 7.5 percent across the board, as well as an immediate end of outsourcing, and a housing allowance increase from R1 000 to R1 500 per month, across the board.
Also among the list of demands are the improvement of the danger allowance for the Campus Protection Unit to R1 500, job evaluation for grades 6 to 17, a R450 transport allowance, and that those who do not possess requisite skills be assisted by the university to obtain them within the necessary timeframe.
“Over and above these financial demands by workers, we also call on the management to deal with the longstanding issues of transformation in the university. Even after 23 years into our nascent democracy the wage gap between black and white staff members is still wide like in the pre-1994 era,” Nehaw said.
“We therefore demand an immediate equalisation of benefits to bridge the gap between staff members of different races at the university. We demand that the university management commits itself to developing the skills of its workforce and pledge to use inflation as a standard for wage negotiations.”
Nehawu has given Rhodes University management seven days as an ultimatum to respond to its demands.
“Should these demands not be addressed sufficiently in the next seven days, the union will be left with no option but to prepare for a full-blown strike at the university.”
Rhodes University maintained that it cannot afford Nehawu’s demands as a single percentage increase in the remuneration bill would be equivalent to R4 million.
The university said the rejected five percent offer was a “bitter pill to swallow” taking into account the rate of inflation and the serious risk to the sustainability of the institution if the current deficit budget is increased to fund salaries.
The university has to realise savings of just under R10 million in the 2017 financial year and an additional R28 million in 2018 in order to remain viable.
– African News Agency (ANA)