Wits denies accusations of staff exploitation

Numsa and Nehawu affiliated staff at Wits University are on strike calling for a 12% hike.

FILE: Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Wits University has denied accusations of employee exploitation as wage negotiations with unions fall short.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) affiliated staff at the institution are on strike calling for a 12% hike, while the organisation says it can only offer 8%.

Numsa says it is aware that learning at the institution is set to begin on Monday but says this was a situation created by what it calls stubborn management.

Despite wage negotiations between Wits and the union starting in July 2017, mediations at various points have fallen short.

The university’s Shirona Patel says the 8% offer is above the current inflation rate.

“If they’re claiming that that’s unequal, we’d rejected because you can clearly see that the people who are earning the least are getting the highest increase.”

However, Numsa’s Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says this isn’t enough.

“As Numsa, we’ll be intensifying the strike and from Sunday we’ll be staging a picket on campus to highlight our demands.”

Further negotiations with university management started on Saturday and continued on Sunday.