Protest at Wits University
A group of about 400 staff and students protested in Braamfontein today
Wits Univeristy confirmed in a statement that the protesters marched peacefully from Yale Road South to Jan Smuts Avenue, where they handed over a memorandum to management, demanding that salary negotiations for 2012 be re-opened.
Prof Loyiso Nongxa, Vice-Chancellor, said that despite prolonged negotiations, management and unions could not reach consensus on the proposed salary increases.
The unions are demanding a 9% salary increase, as well as R1.4-million per annum to fund the salaries of union officials while they partake in union-related activities, the statement said.
Management is offering a 7.5% increase for academic staff and a 6.8% increase for support staff across the board.
"Based on the current constraints on the University’s budget, this is best possible offer that the University can make in order to remain sustainable. The University is not a profit-making institution and has worked on a zero-based, balanced budget for the last two years."
As part of this year’s negotiations, amongst other issues, the University has already agreed to:
· Introducing two new categories of long service awards, substantially increasing the value of long-service awards
· Grant paternity leave of five days to all persons who qualify for this category of leave, in addition to the current three days family responsibility leave
· Increase the adoption leave from three to four months to all persons who qualify
· Allow for the establishment of a task team to explore the creation of a sustainable child care facility.
"Management remains committed to the negotiation and administration of salaries and conditions of service based on affordability, sustainability and alignment to performance management as required by Council," the statement concluded.
Wits is home to about 29,500 students and 6,500 staff members.