Yesterday morning I bumped into an old friend who looked particularly pleased with his day. He told me that workers who had been on strike on the Rhodes university campus had just broke into his management lecture and it had to be cut short. It has been five days since the beginning of the Rhodes university workers strike. The workers have been striking because the university has supposedly refused to hand over money which had been put aside for their salaries.
The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) had given notice that it would embark on protected Industrial Action (a strike) from Monday, the 3rd of August, and it could/would last a few days.
The demonstration which is held by cleaning and catering staff members has left students to fend for themselves for the duration of the strike. Many residences have left ‘bathroom duties’ and ‘kitchen duties’ to the students and recently, the university has offered to pay the students for all their work.
The strike was supposed to end yesterday but negotiations did not go as planned by the university. Nosizwe Maduna, a catering staff member said that they had anticipated the strike’s end on Thursday but are now willing to strike until Monday. “Why should the students be cleaning? The university must get our message”, said Maduna.
As part of their demonstration, they broke into the General lecture hall on Thursday morning trying to stop the classes so that the university could understand. Nobody can really say who the ‘bad apples’ are but the strike should end soon.
Today, the East London police department made their way to the campus to try and move the demonstrators but they later argued that it was impossible to do that as this is not directed at the town’s municipality but, the university.