Unisa Fires Staff In Connection With Disruption Of Graduation Ceremonies

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Five Staff members under temporary suspension have had their contracts terminated by the University of South Africa (Unisa). The decision has garnered criticism from both workers and student unions.

 


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Unisa cited violating their terms of suspension, incitement of public violence, malicious damage to property, organising and leading the forceful disruption of Unisa graduation ceremonies between March and April 2022 and violation of the Court order as reasons behind the termination.

The University said, “The Management of the university has a duty to protect the academic programme, protect and preserve the image and reputation of the university, as well as ensure that staff, students, and other stakeholders of the university can access its premises without hindrance and free from fear and intimidation”.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) have noted their anger at the decision taken to terminate the employment of the workers.

“NEHAWU is vehemently opposed to all forms of intimidation and victimisation including union bashing. Certainly, the union shall not stand idle while its shop stewards and members are victimised” declared the union.

Unisa has said that they are open to engagements with organised labour and trade unions. They however say that this must be done in an open, democratic and dignified manner.

The South African Students Congress (SASCO) also voiced their anger and disappointment at the decision made by Unisa to fire the workers.

They said, “The tactics to silence workers and students through suspension and expulsion are nothing new to us. She [Unisa VC Prof Nkambule] must be aware that she joins a long list of intolerant incompetent fellows who are presiding over these public institutions who know no dialogue but Apartheid tactics”.

The university confirmed that they will apply a no-work-no pay rule for employees participating in the illegal and unprotected strikes and reserves the right to take disciplinary action against such employees, which may include dismissal if found guilty.

 

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