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Rhodes and NEHAWU Reach Agreement

Date Released: Fri, 14 August 2009 15:51 +0200

Rhodes University and NEHAWU, representing about 500 grade 1 to 5 employees, signed this past Wednesday a substantive agreement following a recent industrial action pertaining to the disagreement on the allocation of monies made available to make Rhodes salaries competitive.

The University Council decided in June 2009 to implement a market related adjustment for qualifying support staff from grades 1 to 18. The dispute and subsequent agreement was not part of an annual wage negotiation process which commences shortly.

The agreement reached verbally late on Tuesday 11 August 2009 after meetings between the parties lasting several hours, covers only grades 1 to 5 employees.

In terms of the agreement, the June 18 Council decisions as regards the market related remuneration adjustment will be implemented. This includes:

1. Grades 1 to 5 employees receiving 30 days leave per annum made up of 26 days plus an average of 4 days shut-down per annum. Saturdays are not to be counted. This comes into effect from 1 July 2009.

2. A sum of R3.3million, a once-off payment, to be allocated to address the fact that grades 1 to 5 collective never received long leave before. Those employed since 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2009 to receive R2600. Thereafter the value to be determined based on permanent service in excess of a one year.

3. Long leave will no longer form part of the conditions of service for any new support staff member, thus inequities related to this long leave will no longer be an issue between the two parties.

4. Different catering staff remuneration scales to be done away with. Catering will now be on the same scales as other staff. 

5. All employees including catering staff are to move to a minimum position of at least 92% of the middle of the market for grades 1; 86% of the middle of the market for grades 2; and 84% of the middle of the market for grades 3 to 5.

6. Payment (in September 2009) of R500 per person (a once-off lump-sum of about R150 000) to each member of grades 1 to 5 who shall not be benefitting as per the allocation outline in 5 above.

7. No work, no pay principle shall apply to five working days since the start of the industrial action on Monday 3 August.

8. In the future, market adjustment negotiations for the grades 1 to 5 are to take place within the ambit of annual wage negotiations.

9. Any monies set aside for the market adjustments of grades 6 and above are to be at the discretion of Council and will not apply to grades 1 to 5.

Additionally and as part of the agreement, NEHAWU will end the industrial action and workers will return to work on Wednesday 12 August 2009. The University Administration will cancel the interdict against NEHAWU.

The parties also agree to promote a work environment that ensures the protection of staff which means no harassment or victimisation of any kind will be tolerated against any employee who took part or did not take part in the industrial action.