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NUTESA DUT Newsletter October 2009

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NUTESA DUT Newsletter October 2009 Powered By Docstoc
					Dear NUTESA member,

October 2009

At last, your long awaited newsletter! NUTESA apologizes for the delay in communication and trust that the information below will be informative.

It has been extremely difficult to get any information from the HR department on this matter. A meeting was held with Prof. N. Gawe several months ago, at which we tried to get information on what was being done, how, and by whom. We were given a general overview of the benchmarking and a promise that a meeting would be called with the Unions to discuss the matter in more detail. Despite the fact that Nutesa has been chasing this matter for months, no meeting has taken place. We are aware that some members are receiving letters that their ‘appeal’ has been unsuccessful. Yet last year the Institution, with the approval of the two other Unions, abandoned the Job Grading appeals process! NUTESA’s objections to this process were ignored. The lack of information and the exclusion from the process cannot continue any longer. This whole situation is unacceptable and NUTESA is putting together a task team to tackle this matter further. If this means that we have to challenge the Institution through legal processes, then we will do so.

After the strike settlement in February, combined labour undertook to engage with Management in seeking a three-year salary deal. A series of information meetings took place, followed by formal negotiations. The last negotiation meeting took place on 29th July, with the Management Negotiating Team (MNT) closing the meeting by indicating that they needed to consult further. Weeks passed, but nothing was heard from the MNT. Several attempts were made by NUTESA to get a response from the MNT. We heard nothing. In mid-September, we wrote directly to the Vice-Chancellor indicating our dissatisfaction with the very lengthy silence, and our intention to take action if nothing was forthcoming by the end of September 2009. The Vice-Chancellor then called a meeting of the MNT for Wednesday 30th September. The NUTESA negotiations team has reported that the current offer on the table from Management is a one-year deal of CPI + 1%. Labour’s counter-offer is that for a one-year deal we are looking at a minimum of CPI + 2%. [NOTE: CPI is calculated as the figure standing at the end of September 2009.]

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The MNT again indicated that they would have to consult further. It appears that a threeyear deal is now off the table. We will advise you further when the MNT have ‘consulted’ and let us know their next position. We must stress that before accepting any offer we will call a mass meeting to discuss it and to get your mandate on acceptance, or not, whatever you then decide.

It is that time of year again, where we dust off the Minutes, prepare the financials, and see who is prepared to serve NUTESA and its members on the Branch Executive. The AGM is a constitutional requirement, but it should mean more than that. It is an annual comingtogether of NUTESA members to acknowledge the activities of the preceding year, to see that the finances are in good order, to elect an Executive to serve for the next twelve months, and to get together in hope and anticipation of good staff/management relations and progress in all matters labour-related at the Institution. This year, it looks as though it will also be the last AGM of the DUT branch of NUTESA, as we look towards our new union, NTEU, forming in 2010. Invitations have already gone out for the AGM being held on Tuesday 13th October 2009, starting at 12.00. The venue will be the HOTEL SCHOOL, Ritson Road. To celebrate NUTESA and the end of an era, we will have a lucky draw for a number of prizes, as well as certificates of acknowledgement for some individuals who have been instrumental in steering this branch through rather choppy waters over the past years. Many members think of it as just another mass meeting. Please see it as more than that, and send in your confirmation of attendance slip to Connie at the NUTESA office.

NTESU is the National Tertiary Education Staff Union, which has been operating for many years at most of the traditional universities in South Africa. This amalgamation has been driven by the National offices of the two unions, with the formation of a joint task team. The task team has met on several occasions in the past year or so, to look at best practice in joining together to be one stronger union. The task team has considered the administrative practices, constitutions, membership fees, financial practices, structure, and portfolios, amongst other things, of both Unions. After this had been done, all branch Chairpersons were then asked by the National body to hold meetings with their members to discuss the amalgamation, and to ask for a branch mandate. For the DUT branch, meetings were then held at the Steve Biko, Riverside and Indumiso campuses to discuss the potential amalgamation of NUTESA with NTESU. Benefits include larger membership at National level; broader union access across all levels of Higher Education; and access to a higher level of decision-making authorities in South African education and government. Although this will not mean a sudden increase in members at this branch, as there is no NTESU branch operating here, it does mean that we will have the advantage of belonging to a bigger Union at National level. At DUT, those who attended the meetings voted unanimously in favour of the amalgamation. At a recent Council of Chairpersons meeting, when the Chairs reported on their branches, all NUTESA branches but one were in favour of the amalgamation. One branch had some queries, and reserved their decision until their queries had been answered. The matter will now serve at the National Congress, which is being held in mid-November. Further information will then be available on the next steps in the amalgamation process. 2

The DUT branch is delighted to advise that recently the Managing Committee (MANCO) of NUTESA National co-opted a member of our Executive, Francois van Zyl, for his legal expertise. Franco now also sits on the Council of Chairpersons by invitation. Congratulations Francois! Francois is a practicing attorney and lectures in Applied Law at Riverside campus. Although fairly new to Union activities, he has quickly made himself at home and has proved to be a valuable asset to the Branch executive. His contribution at a National level will strengthen NUTESA in the same way that he has benefited the NUTESA: DUT branch.

Just a reminder that NUTESA has its own website. Please go into it and have a look! You will find many useful items that will give an overview of what is taking place at other branches, as well as items of interest at National level. The website address is: www.nutesa.co.za

During the course of this year there has been much speculation, rumour and uncertainty regarding the PRMA. The Vice Chancellor has called a meeting of labour for 14th October, and once we have heard what he has to say we will let you know what the official position is with the PRMA. We don’t want to add to any uncertainty or speculation, so we won’t discuss it here, but after the meeting we will report back with direct facts.

The NUTESA Executive recently held a two-day strategic planning session. At this workshop we identified strengths, successes, weaknesses and mistakes. It is always good to acknowledge where you have been going right, and equally, where you have been going wrong. Sometimes, decisions are made in good faith based on the information to hand at that particular time. With hindsight, it is often easy to see that a different decision would have been much better. The amalgamation with NTESU means that specific long-term planning needs to be parked until we have officially joined and become the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU). The exercise proved fruitful and has given the executive a clear indication of where we are doing well (e.g. representing members at grievances, disciplinaries, similar activities), and where we have been a bit weak (e.g. not enough communication to members). We hope that we will be able to continue with the good things, and considerably improve on the ‘not so good things’. We will certainly try!

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Numerous reports were received by NUTESA of some Departmental Managers insisting that staff must give a motivation for taking vacation leave, or leave would be denied. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Vacation leave is a right, not a privilege, and you do NOT have to give reasons or motivate for taking your vacation leave. It has also become apparent that some managers are using a type of bullying tactic against some staff, by denying them vacation leave without any reasonable grounds to do so. NUTESA referred these matters to Prof. N. Gawe, expressing our deep disappointment at the methods being used by some Managers. Prof. N. Gawe agreed that vacation leave does not have to be motivated, and that leave cannot unreasonably be denied to staff. Only in exceptional circumstances can managers REQUEST that staff delay their leave, with proper consultation taking place. Prof. N. Gawe has notified all Managers of the above issues and directed that this bullying must stop immediately. If you have any further difficulty taking vacation leave, please refer the matter immediately to the NUTESA office so that we can take the matter up with the relevant individual.

It is important to complete a beneficiary form for your NTRF and have it on file in the event of your death. If you do not nominate a beneficiary, the NTRF Trustees will have no guidance as to your wishes of whom you want to benefit from your pension, after your death.

It is important to complete a beneficiary form for your Group Life Scheme and have it on file in the event of your death. If you do not nominate a beneficiary, the DUT will have no guidance as to your wishes of whom you want to benefit from your Group Life Scheme after your death. Also remember that your Group Life Scheme is only valid whilst you are in the employ of DUT.

Two NUTESA representatives and representatives from other Unions were invited to attend the above conference, which was held from 15-17 July 2009 at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (Bellville Campus). Knowledge Ngwane and Prithy Sewsunker were representing NUTESA. The Vice-Chancellors of the five Universities of Technology in South Africa were present for the full duration of the conference. DUT’s Vice-Chancellor: Prof R.

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Du Pré is currently the SATN Chairperson and his Vice-Chairperson is Prof. T. Mthembu (Vice-Chancellor: VUT The Conference was opened by Honourable N. Pandor (National Minister of Science and Technology), who indicated that her department will continue to work closely with the Universities of Technology through various programs, and that funding is available for that purpose. The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr. B. Nzimande, was represented by the Acting Director-General of the department. Various topics were discussed by highlyrated speakers who are experts in their field and have vast experience in the Higher Education Sector. There were a number of international speakers, from countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, who have long-establish links with Tertiary Education Institutions in South Africa. Overall the conference was interesting, informative, and a great success. Nutesa would like to thank Prof. R du Pré for making this opportunity available to labour representatives.

NUTESA would like to thank each and every one of its members who have been loyal through the years, YOU are NUTESA! Some individuals have to be mentioned with NUTESA’s sincere gratitude. ……….. All the staff in both the Registry Departments, on the MLS and the SB Campuses. Thank you for delivering and collecting NUTESA’s mail, it is much appreciated.

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Description: NUTESA DUT Newsletter October 2009