Protection services staff at NMMU have launched a “go-slow” protest after accusing the institution of reneging on wage increases and other commitments made in the wake of last year’s #FeesMustFall student campaign.
Security staff at the institution, who claim they earn as little as R3 500 a month, without benefits, started their “go-slow” last week.
However, the university has denied that security staff are protesting or that it has backtracked on its commitments.
The security personnel, who were given permanent posts at NMMU two months ago, maintain they are no better off than when they were contracted by NMMU.
These employees claim the university had committed to paying them a minimum of R5 000 a month, along with benefits.
A group of security personnel, who spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity, said they had been in several meetings with the university’s human resources and finance departments, but still had no clarity around their contracts or salaries.
“We were given a document to sign at the end of June but there is no indication of rate per hour, leave days, overtime and so on,” one security officer, who has been working at NMMU for 11 years, said.
Another security guard, who has been at NMMU for three years and permanently employed since July 1, said: “We work 12-hour shifts, Monday to Friday – that is 60 hours a week and 240 a month, but we only get paid for five hours overtime.”
National Tertiary Education Union chairwoman at NMMU Lynette Roodt said the disgruntled staff had been “forced into something which doesn’t offer specific benefits” and that there was “general dissatisfaction” across the board.
“This is putting the university at risk . . . there was an expectation created [around a minimum R5 000 salary],” Roodt said.
Security staff were the lowest paid permanent staff members at NMMU, and there was a deadlock with management on what to do to fix the situation, she said.
NMMU spokeswoman Zandile Mbabela said the university council had committed to a R5 000 “cost to company” and not as a basic salary.
She said all newly integrated staff members had gained access to study and health benefits (through campus health services) and received housing allowances.
Medical aid would be negotiated once the grading process had been completed, she said.