Unions representing Witwatersrand University service staff and academics went on a pay strike on Thursday, disrupting some campus activities.
The boom gates on Yale Road, leading into the university, were unmanned and open in the morning, and at least one library had closed for "security reasons".
A second, large library on campus remained open, though it appeared to have fewer staff members.
The gates were again operating by 1pm, though they did not appear to be staffed by uniformed security guards.
Several students interviewed said they had seen some, though not all, of their day's lectures cancelled or postponed.
"A lot of our lectures were cancelled," said actuarial student Muteto Muteto.
"Today, instead of having five [lectures] I had three."
Not all students were affected by the strike. Medical student Mpazi Siwale said his classes at Wits Medical School had not been disrupted.
"Unfortunately, not for me. I just had an exam," he said.
Academic Staff Association of Wits University leader David Dickinson accused management of negotiating in bad faith over the past three years.
Dickinson was joined by representatives from the Administration, Library and Technical Staff Association and National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu).
Dickinson said the university was not living up to its previous agreement of paying academics an average up to the 75th percentile for the industry.
He said this was key to insuring the university attracted the best academic staff and remained competitive. The academics also wanted more funds for research and argued that funds allocated by the government for this were not reaching them.
"The demands are precisely to protect the value of this university," Dickinson said.
Nehawu's Wits chair Richard Sadiki said his members were seeking a "sliding" scale increase with a nine percent increase for the lowest paid workers.
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