PYA to join striking Wits workers

2012-08-30 12:01

Johannesburg - The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) will join striking workers on Thursday at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).

The PYA was calling on university management to address workers' demands to ensure it could focus on educating students, it said in a statement.

The PYA consists of the Young Communist League (YCL), the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), the SA Students' Congress (Sasco) and the Congress of SA Students (Cosas).

Sasco general secretary Themba Masondo said the PYA planned on Thursday to observe how the negotiations were being held.

"We will just be showing support to the workers and observing the situation," Masondo said.

The delegation would be made up of the general secretaries of these organisations.

On Wednesday, Wits staff vowed not to back down from the salary demands they presented to management during a one-day strike on Tuesday.

They have demanded a nine percent increase. Management has offered 6.8% for support staff and 7.55% for academics.

They have also demanded more funds for research projects, and have complained about a shortage of parking space and child care facilities.

The Academic Staff Association of Wits University (Asawu) and the National Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) walked out of talks on Monday. Asawu said it would make the same demands on Thursday.

The university said it was waiting for Asawu and Nehawu to give it a counter-offer or give reasons for their rejection of management's proposals.

A third union, the Wits Administration, Library and Technical Staff Association (Altsa), signed an agreement on Monday nigt.

Wits spokeswoman Shirona Patel said a salary analysis had shown that the institution was currently a "market leader" when it came to academic remuneration.
"Wits has offered competitive salary packages which have consistently exceeded inflation," she said in a statement.

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