No break in DUT salary deadlock, pushed lectures back again

DUT protest Picture Jason Chapman
DUT protest Picture Jason Chapman

After more than a month‚ the beleaguered Durban University of Technology is still no closer to reaching an agreement with striking staff over salary increments – and it has‚ again‚ forced the start of the academic year to be delayed.

In a last ditch attempt to resolve the protracted impasse with unions‚ the university turned to the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) this week.

The academic year was due to start on Monday‚ but the breakdown in negotiations over better salary packages‚ saw lectures being pushed to February 12.

Management is offering a 6.5% increase in basic salary and a 6.5% housing allowance‚ without a once-off bonus. But striking unions are demanding an 8% increase and a R350 hike in the housing allowance.

Late on Thursday the university released a statement saying negotiations remained deadlocked and that lectures would start on Tuesday‚ February 13.

“The Durban University of Technology is disappointed to confirm that after four days of mediation by the CCMA‚ the salary negotiations with the three labour unions remain deadlocked‚” said Alan Khan‚ DUT spokesman.

He said that despite the ongoing strike‚ 18 000 students have been registered for the new academic year.

“These students want to get into class and commence with their studies. DUT will‚ in consultation with our SRC‚ ensure that we help students to register over the course of the next few days‚” Khan added.

Khaya Xaba‚ National Health Education and Allied Workers Union spokesman for KwaZulu-Natal‚ said the strike would continue because the mediation process had collapsed.

“It’s a bad situation‚” he said.