THE University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) on Thursday announced that a 4% salary increase would be implemented for all Wits staff, effective on January 1.
Wits management and staff unions the Academic Staff Association of Wits University (Asawu) and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) are deadlocked in a dispute over salaries, pay inequalities relative to other universities and research funding.
The unions twice embarked on one-day strikes in 2012, but the matter was postponed to early next year due to changes in management and to avoid disrupting end-of-year exams.
In a statement on Thursday, Asawu said it had not been consulted and the move could undermine negotiations. The "imposition demonstrates continued disrespect for university staff", it said.
Speaking on behalf of the Wits council, Dr Randall Carolissen, chairman of the remuneration committee, said the decision had been made to ensure that the negotiations next year could continue in line with Wits’s financial year, following a decision to change the salary cycle to January to December.
The move brought the cycle in line with other public universities and would allow for the effective benchmarking of salaries, he said.
Despite the current impasse between management and the two unions, they did not in principle object to the change in cycle, Dr Carolissen said.
A fact-finding commission had been established by the council to develop mechanisms to ensure outstanding salary-related and other matters are resolved speedily, said Dr Carolissen
Asawu said on Thursday it was committed to working with the new management team to resolve the current dispute next year.
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