Lectures came to a standstill yesterday as staff and students at the Durban University of Technology went on strike over lack of student accommodation and poor staff salaries.
Yesterday university management remained indoors under the gaze of a crowd of security guards at the gates leading to the management offices at Steve Biko campus, while staff and students protested outside.
Although memorandums of grievances were not handed to management, Ivan Govender, the spokesman representing the Tertiary Education National Union of South Africa, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union, and the National Union of Technikon Employees of South Africa, said the strike would continue until management responds to the demands of both students and staff.
Workers and lecturers are demanding a salary increase equal to inflation, plus one percent, and a 11,5percent housing subsidy increase. This proposal had been presented to management previously.
Govender said they had also informed management about the strike.
"We told them about the massive strike, possibly something that has never been seen before in the history of strike action at this institution, but management did not listen to our demands or the peaceful protests that had been taking place since last Monday," he said.
Students Representative Council president Mandla Shange said the main problems that led to the strike are the same problems that students go on strike for every year. These are the lack of student accommodation and the withholding of results.
He said the results of about 40000 students are being withheld because they were unable to pay last year's fees.
University spokesman Nomonde Mbadi said the "no work, no pay" policy will apply to lecturers. She said that a number of the student grievances have already been dealt with.
"We have put in place contingency plans to minimise the disruption of lectures. Management is committed to resolving the dispute as soon as possible," Mbadi said.