Strike action by workers at EC universities delay exams

Authorities on both Walter Sisulu University and the University of Fort Hare have postponed exams indefinitely leaving students at a loose end.

FILE: Entrance to the University of Fort Hare. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Students at two major Eastern Cape universities are in limbo this week after a postponement of exams due to strike action.

Employees at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) have been on strike for the past three weeks, demanding an 8% increase while management is offering just over 6%.

At the University of Fort Hare (UFH), a week-long strike has worsened after wage negotiations between National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) affiliated staff and management reached a deadlock.

Authorities on both campuses have postponed exams indefinitely leaving students at a loose end.

WSU spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo says operations are continuing at three of the four campuses, as the majority of the staff there have accepted the 6.6% wage increase.

Tukwayo says they're hoping to resume operations at the East London campus on Thursday, where a lockout had been issued due to the strike.

But mid-year exams which were supposed to start two weeks ago are still on hold with no new start date set as yet.

The UFH is in a worse situation; the institution's Khotso Moabi says there's been a deadlock in wage negotiations with Nehawu refusing to accept management's offer of 7% and demanding 8%.

“Right now the campus has become volatile. The staff are making it difficult for other staff members to continue working. There are acts of intimidation which we are addressing.”

Moabi says exams were supposed to start last week, but have been postponed to the start of the second semester.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)