[DEBATE] : Fwd: Witness coverage of strike
Pithouser at ukzn.ac.za
Tue Feb 7 08:05:19 GMT 2006
The Witness coverage has been, by far, the best. Daily News and East Coast Radio just repeated Chetty's lies.
>>> Mark Butler <butler at sn.apc.org> 02/07/06 8:21 AM >>>
this from today's Witness:
University go-slow disrupts registration
Tue, 7 Feb 2006
By Matt Saville
The registration process on four University of KwaZulu-Natal campuses
was disrupted yesterday morning by a staff go-slow, with unionised staff
absent from registration posts at Howard College, Pietermaritzburg,
Westville and Edgewood owing to mass meetings.
Student protesters also affected registration on all four campuses, as
students presented their grievances to university management regarding
academic exclusions and registration fees.
Although technically the strike is about a salary dispute, with unions
saying that university management reneged on an agreement reached last
year to negotiate salary increases from four percent, instead imposing
the four percent increase across the board, other major issues include a
perceived oppressive management style of the university, coupled with
Union members’ concerns were addressed by union leadership at mass
meetings held on the four campuses. At issue on the Pietermaritzburg
campus, where the mass meeting turned into spontaneous picketing on the
university lawns, was the alleged intimidation of staff owing to a
“deluge of misleading and intimidatory messages” originating from the
office of university’s Executive Director of Public Affairs and
Corporate Communications, Dasarath Chetty.
This was seen as being in line with the university’s autocratic
management style, with senior lecturer John Aitchison * who has been a
lecturer at the university since 1980 * describing management as the
most oppressive that he has encountered. “In conscience I can’t accept
when staff, especially support staff, are treated like dirt,” he said
addressing about three hundred staff at the Pietermaritzburg campus
Staff were instructed by union representatives to attempt to minimise
the amount of registration that occurs and to engage in a go-slow. “As
tardy as the university has been in dealing with our requests, so too
must we be tardy in the performance of our duties,” said executive
member of the National Tertiary Education Staff Union (Ntesu), Marie
Spokesman for the four unions involved in the strike action, Kesh
Govender, said that registration at Howard College had ground to a halt
yesterday morning as “there was no-one to run registration”. He said
that this was because over 400 staff members attended a mass meeting at
Howard College, with a similar turnout on the Westville campus. He
confirmed that students had disrupted registration on the Edgewood and
Westville campuses with registration being made impossible throughout
the day at Edgewood.
However, Chetty said the registration process on four campuses was
temporarily halted yesterday morning when small groups of protesting
students caused disruptions at Edgewood, Howard College,
Pietermaritzburg and Westville. He said that the public was informed
that registration would resume at 2 pm yesterday afternoon.
South African Students’ Congress (Sasco) provincial chairperson and head
of the Pietermaritzburg campus’ SRC, Sammy Mashita, said there had been
no registration on the Pietermaritzburg campus for the entire day, with
1 200 students joining the protest where grievances, including concerns
over academic exclusions, registration fees, security on the
Pietermaritzburg Campus and delays in completing renovations in certain
university residences were raised.
He said that there were no student protests planned for today.
Meanwhile staff will continue with a go-slow on all campuses with
picketing planned for the Pietermaritzburg and Howard College campuses
Published: 7 February 2006
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