Apsa as a new al­ter­na­tive union in higher ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor

The Sunday Independent - - DISPATCHES -

NEHAWU has pros­ti­tuted it­self as a sweet­heart union ready to sell it­self and mem­bers to the high­est bid­der or em­ployer.

Us­ing the heavy protests and strikes of In­sourc­ing, the Na­tional Health Ed­u­ca­tion & Al­lied Work­ers Union chose the side of the em­ployer against the work­ers. This hap­pened in all in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing as only the Aca­demic and Pro­fes­sional Staff As­so­ci­a­tion of the Uni­ver­si­ties of South Africa, ( Apsa), to­gether with the EFF Stu­dents Com­mand and other forces of change, fought for the in­sourc­ing of work­ers of the ser­vice providers from se­cu­rity, clean­ers, cater­ers, gar­den­ers etc.

Nehawu talked one lan­guage of the em­ployer, ar­gu­ing that there is not enough bud­get and that the in­sourc­ing pro­ject was ex­pen­sive and not a sus­tain­able model.

How­ever, it must be said that the real rea­son Nehawu re­jected the pro­ject was be­cause its mem­bers and those of the ANC are ben­e­fi­cia­ries of these ten­ders.

Apsa has be­come the work­ers in the uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges though. We as­sist any vul­ner­a­ble worker. Apsa started only at Unisa, and it is known for its ser­vice to work­ers.

We have as­sisted vul­ner­a­ble work­ers at the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria, Tsh­wane Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (TUT), Tsh­wane South Col­lege, and Unisa who were not our mem­bers, but were re­jected by Nehawu and other unions.

We have as­sisted be­cause we un­der­stood our re­spon­si­bil­ity to be the van­guard of the work­ers ev­ery­where ir­re­spec­tive of mem­ber­ship sub­scrip­tion and scope.

When I started as the gen­eral-sec­re­tary of Apsa, it was a union of 950 mem­bers and only ex­isted at Unisa.

We are cur­rently 2 000 mem­bers at Unisa and have 1 100 mem­bers at the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria, 300 mem­bers at the Univer­sity of Venda, 200 mem­bers at Vaal Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, 100 mem­bers at Tsh­wane South Col­lege and 300 mem­bers at TUT.

We are cur­rently re­cruit­ing at the Univer­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg, Wits, Wal­ter Sisulu, Fort Hare, Univer­sity of Lim­popo, Univer­sity of Cape Town, Univer­sity of North West, and Univer­sity of Free State.

Of course we are do­ing ground work in all uni­ver­si­ties, col­leges and the depart­ment of higher ed­u­ca­tion.

How­ever, this does not stop us from re­cruit­ing from other sec­tors and to as­sist work­ers ev­ery­where as our pri­mary man­date as a trade union.

Our in­ten­tion as Apsa is to have 300 000 mem­bers in 2020.

To make this achiev­able, we have re­cruited Sa­belo Mh­lungu (for­mer Unisa stu­dents rep­re­sen­ta­tive coun­cil pres­i­dent and cur­rent Unisa Con­vo­ca­tion pres­i­dent); Vuyani Pule (for­mer pres­i­dent of the SA Coun­cil of Churches Youth Fo­rum); Mpho Morolane (for­mer pres­i­dent of the EFF Stu­dents Com- mand); Vusi Old­man Mahlangu (a leader of #Out­sourcingMustFall); Amla Mon­a­geng and Sam Mphuti (both for­mer for­mer EFF Stu­dent Com­mand and #Out­sourcingMustFall and #FeesMustFall lead­ers at Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria); Kenny Mot­samai (PAC strug­gle hero); and oth­ers to form part of Apsa staff.

This re­cruit­ment will as­sist us in hav­ing enough strength and ca­pac­ity to fight the bru­tal sys­tem of ex­ploita­tion by em­ploy­ers ev­ery­where. We needed time tested of­fi­cials who are fear­less and with ca­pac­ity, and who can­not be bribed by em­ploy­ers, a prob­lem that Nehawu is fac­ing.

We have won many cases in dis­ci­plinary pro­cesses and at the Com­mis­sion for Con­cil­i­a­tion, Me­di­a­tion and Ar­bi­tra­tion and in the #Out­sourcingMustFall strug­gle as we have de­liv­ered in three in­sti­tu­tions.

We will be in­ten­si­fy­ing our pro­gramme of in­sourc­ing in all in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing and else­where.

We are go­ing to pen­e­trate all in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing to make sure that the work­ers are pro­tected from any form of ex­ploita­tion, abuse and vic­tim­i­sa­tion.

We are there to pro­tect the rights of the work­ers and to pro­mote their in­ter­ests within the am­bit of the law.

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