NEHAWU Statement On UNISA Dishonouring a signed Wage Agreement
Wednesday March 16, 2022
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] notes with anger the decision by the University of South Africa [UNISA] to dishonour a signed collective wage agreement.
The management of UNISA has elected to dishonour a signed agreement for the payment of salary adjustments/increase to our members and workers. The agreement which was entered into on the 17th January 2022 by the union and UNISA agreed that employees who are on grade P7 to P17 [professional and support employees including fixed-term] would receive salary adjustments in line with clandestine adjustments done for those employees in grade P5 and P6 during September 2021.
The management of UNISA knowing that the next bargaining circle has commenced, intentionally attempted to divide workers by adjusting salary increments only for employees in grades 5 to P6 (including Academic staff) in September 2021 without following collective bargaining processes which are concluded in the UNISA Bargaining Forum and this forum has been the only forum where conditions of service of employees have been negotiated and NEHAWU as a majority union will not allow anyone to render the forum useless.
Subsequently after workers protested in January 2022 over the decision of the employer, parties agreed that the adjustments done would be extended to all employees effectively from the 1st of September 2021. This meant that employees who are on grade P7 to P17 [professional and support employees including fixed-term] would receive the same salary adjustments as the other cohort of employees.
The adjustments were done but what was not implemented by the employer was the back payment of the adjustment to September 2021 and this has resulted in workers embarking on the lunch time pickets that are currently happening. The employer entered into the agreement well aware of the back payment and they have never raised any challenge with the implementation.
As NEHAWU, we will not allow the management of UNISA to renege or dishonour this agreement and thus undermining the rights of workers and collective bargaining. The decision by UNISA not to honour the agreement forms part of the broader onslaught directed to workers through downward variation of the conditions of service and hard-won gains, including the attack and undermining of collective bargaining.
The rights of workers and the right to collective bargaining did not come on a silver plate but rather through struggles waged by our members and workers. Our members have fought and sacrificed their lives for those rights, and as NEHAWU, we will not allow UNISA to undermine and reverse the gains made by workers.
Lastly, we call on the management of UNISA to honour the signed collective agreement and pay our members and workers what is due to them as per the signed collective agreement which is binding to all parties.
Failure to do so will leave us with no option other than taking the battle to the streets.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969;
Lwazi Nkolonzi (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 081 558 2335 or email: email@example.com