Fin24

Wits academics plan wage protest

2012-07-01 10:59

Johannesburg - Wits University academics are planning industrial action over low salaries at the institution, according to reports on Sunday.

Members of the Academic Staff Association of Wits University (Asawu), which represents over 700 academics, intended marching through Braamfontein on July 19, City Press reported.

It wants the university to implement a 10-year agreement to pay academics at a higher scale - the 75th percentile of the tertiary education sector benchmark, the Sunday Independent reported.

Asawu spokesperson Liz Picarra told the Independent 90% of Wits academics received less than R438 000 a year, below the benchmark.

"We have difficulty filling posts. We are not attracting academics, because the salaries are not competitive," she was quoted as saying.

The university is offering a wage increase of 7.5% across the board for academic staff and 6.8% for support staff, City Press reported.

Wits spokesperson Kgomotso Kasonkola was quoted by both papers as saying: "This is the best possible offer that the university can make in order to remain sustainable."

According to the Independent, Wits had offered above-inflation increases to staff for the past three years.