TUT management, union expected to sign agreement

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pretoria - The Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) management are expected on Thursday to sign an agreement that could see an end to a three-week strike at the institution.

The agreement follows an intervention by the Minister of Education Naledi Pandor, when she met with the NEHAWU and TUT management to discuss a wage dispute that had led to the closure of the institution last week.

During the meeting facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) the minister emphasised the need for the parties to resolve their issues in order to restore normality at the University.

TUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Errol Tyobeka, said it was a priority for the university to restore academic activities, while at the same time ensuring an environment conducive to academic life.

"It is our priority to ensure the safety of students, staff and TUT property, hence we are working tirelessly to ensure that normal activities at the university are resumed at the earliest."

Spokesperson for TUT Willa de Ruyter said progress was made during talks between a follow up meeting held between TUT management and NEHAWU, together with CCMA facilitators, in an attempt to resolve the current impasse between them.

The two parties reached an agreement of a 10 percent wage increase across the board.

Ms de Ruyter said the date for the re-opening of classes will be announced after the agreement was signed.

"The closing date for registration will be extended to ensure that no students are disadvantaged by the strike," Ms de Ruyter said.

The deadlock resulted from a salary dispute between management and the two labour unions, the National Union of Tertiary Employees of South Africa and NEHAWU.

The University's Executive Management Committee decided last Tuesday to suspend all activities at the Pretoria campus including classes and registration with immediate effect until further notice.

The decision was taken in view of the increasingly volatile situation at TUT over the past weeks caused by intimidation of non-striking staff members by some members of the unions as well as acts of violence.