By Chris Gilili
Mid-year exams at the University of Fort Hare have once again been halted by students. On Tuesday exams were supposed to resume, but students chose not to write while university staff remain on strike and there is a police presence on the East London campus.
Last month, university staff downed tools after talks over wages deadlocked between union and management. Staff disrupted examinations at the East London and Alice campuses.
National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) shop steward, Bulelani James, said, "We were demanding a 15% wage increase but they [university management] were not willing to offer that. We came down to 8% and they are only offering 7%. ... We are told the vice chancellor is on leave and attending the Mandela centenary celebrations. Management told us nothing can be decided until the VC is back."
Speaking for the Student Representative Council, Dumisa Maputi said, "The students are ready to write, but the strike is the issue. We hope the union and university management can reach an agreement very soon, because this will hinder our future as students. Some of us should be graduating in September, but that cannot happen without results. Some have to look for jobs but that will also need our results. Students are the most inconvenienced by this," said Maputi.
A university spokesperson said, "No agreement has been reached yet between union and management. Unfortunately the exams will not continue until there has been a meeting and a solution reached."
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