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DUT students take to the streets over salary impasse

21 February 2018 - 10:47 By Suthentira Govender
Durban University of Technology. File photo
Durban University of Technology. File photo
Image: Times Media

Frustrated Durban University of Technology students demanded on Wednesday that the institution resume its academic programme.

Controversial “Fees Must Fall” activist Bonginkosi Khanyile told TimesLive that he and other student leaders had “mobilised“ students to voice their concern over the indefinite suspension of lectures. “All students have united to tell management that we want to start lectures.”

On Friday more than 21 000 students learnt they would have to sit at home because the academic programme was put on hold indefinitely‚ following a six-week impasse over proposed staff salary increases for 2018.

Management is offering a 6.5% increase in basic salary and a 6.5% housing allowance‚ without a once-off bonus. But unions are demanding an 8% increase and a R350 hike in the housing allowance. Staff vented their anger on Tuesday after learning that their salaries had been slashed.

The university said in a statement that it had warned staff that it would implement a “no work‚ no pay” policy prior to the start of a marathon strike.

Khanyile‚ who led “Fees Must Fall“ protests earlier‚ was arrested for being part of protests at DUT two years ago. He was denied bail on several occasions and was only released after taking his matter to the Constitutional Court in March last year.

“We are demanding that lectures resume because students are being disadvantaged. We were supposed to have begun with our academic calendar weeks ago.

“It is not acceptable. They must open the libraries because the postgraduate students can’t commence with their research.

“It is management’s responsibility to sort out this crisis‚ because the students are suffering here. We want this salary issue to be sorted out immediately so that we can go back to class‚” said Khanyile‚ who is enrolled to do his post-graduate studies this year.

Khanyile graduated with a National Diploma in Public Management and Economics summa cum laude‚ despite spending six months in jail.