Nehawu in talks to consider Rhodes revised wage offer

National Education, Health and Allied Union (Nehawu) members were huddled in talks on a revised wage offer from Rhodes University this morning.

Nehawu spokesman Zakade Vena said he would only comment after lunch once the union had made a decision.

NEHAWU at Rhodes discuss their options after unequivocally rejecting management 6.5 % increase. PICTURE: ADRIENNE CARLSE

Nehawu yesterday rejected outright the offer of a 6.5% across-the-board increase which fellow union at the university, the National Tertiary Education Union (Nteu), accepted.

Protesting Nehawu members were yesterday warned by the university that it would consider disciplinary action if they did not immediately return to work. Nehawu members overturned bins and strew rubbish across the university administration building steps in a vocal protest against the university’s revised 6.5% salary increase offer.

A photograph of the lone figure of vice-chancellor Sizwe Mabizela mopping up the filth yesterday evening was trending on social media today.

Mabizela expressed deep concern about the deteriorating state of hygiene at some residences and pleaded for calm and level-headedness.

Early this morning, some shower curtains and rubbish bins were burnt in a bathroom on the ground floor of Rosa Parks student residence at the university. The fire was quickly extinguished.

It is not known whether the fire was related to the industrial action. The university had not commented at the time of writing.

Late yesterday, Nehawu called for Rhodes to show them respect. The unions said in a statement it had engaged in a peaceful and non-disruptive go-slow to allow management space to apply itself to their demands. The union said all the offers to date were delaying the inevitable.

Nehawu are demanding a 7.5% across-the-board increase, an increase of the housing allowance from R1 000 to R1 500 per month, an increase in danger allowances, the abolishment of the lower salary grades, and a merit increment to be shared equally by all employees.

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