2011 National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) Workers’ Strike in One University of Technology (UOT)
AbstractResearch shows that labour relations in South Africa are not entirely peaceful. The uneasiness manifests itself in different ways, including strikes, go-slows, overtime bans, deadlocks, disputes and disagreements (Tustin and Geldenhys 2000: XV). This conceptual paper examines the recurrence of strikes in one university of technology (UoT) in South Africa, focusing on a strike that took place in November 2011. Numerous reasons were given for the strike, first of which was a belief amongst the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) that it was important as being the first legal strike in the history of the institution. Secondly, NEHAWU believed that the striking workers’ demands were legitimate as a result of exploitative conditions. Thirdly, there was an over-reliance on contract workers as opposed to permanent workers, unequal income distribution pattern and numerous other anomalies. Fourthly, the strike demonstrated that labour relations in HEIs are an integral part of a capital/labour relationship characteristic of the dominant mode of production and relations of production and distribution.
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