UCT workers march over consultation
‘Insourcing’ agreement queried
BARRICADES went up again on UCT’s lower campus yesterday afternoon as workers marched to the Bremner Building to meet management over working conditions.
In an announcement sent to staff and students at 6.30pm yesterday university spokeswoman Gerda Kruger said the group of “mostly workers” had “disputed whether the Nehawu ( National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union) joint shop stewards council has represented them adequately in the insourcing agreement”.
Nehawu is a Cosatu-affiliated trade union which represented workers in negotiations to end outsourcing.
This renewed dispute comes just 10 days after the conclusion of an agreement to end outsourcing at the university, signed on October 28, between Nehawu and UCT. The agreement concluded that UCT would directly employ previously outsourced workers providing cleaning, catering, gardening, protection and transport services. The agreement affected workers from Metro, Supercare, G4S, C3, Turfworks and Sibanye.
The Weekend Argus understands the origin of the new dispute is that some workers felt they were not properly consulted before Nehawu signed the agreement with UCT.
Kruger said UCT management was in discussions with the group “in an attempt to find a way forward”. She confirmed that “some barricades” had been erected on lower campus.
An image shared from the official social media account of the UCT SRC showed what appeared to be a burning rubbish bin on lower campus near the Leo Marquard and Tugwell residences. The accompanying text read: “Lower campus has been barricaded.”
Another tweet from the SRC’s social media account read: “All dining halls are closed down and meal vouchers are being distributed to catering residences.” The newlyelected SRC also requested “support for the workers negotiations at Bremner”.
Kruger said interruptions to the Jammie Shuttle service were expected.The library has also been closed. Following weeks of protest under the # FeesMustFall banner, UCT was one of the first universities to agree to end outsourcing. “All outsourced workers who are in the employ of the outsourced contractors at the date of transfer… will be absorbed into the university,” read the statement signed by Nehawu joint shop stewards council chairman Mzomhle Bixa and UCT vice-chancellor Max Price on October 28.
Exams at the university, with 26 000 students, are due to start this week. Kruger said they would continue as planned. “In the event of the disruption of any examination, we will do everything reasonably possible to provide for an alternative examination within the examination period.
“UCT will pursue disciplinary action against any student or staff member who contributes to the disruption of exams. This could lead to expulsion.” UCT would “require outsourced companies to do the same with respect to those employees who disrupt exams”.
The Weekend Argus could not contact Nehawu or the new representatives chosen by the protesting workers at the time of going to print last night. TIDES High today . .12.43am, 12.53pm Tomorrow . . . . .1.21am, 1.27pm Low today . . . . .6.43am, 7.17pm Tomorrow . . . . .7.19am, 7.47pm Spring tides . . . . . . . . . . .Nov 11
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SUN/MOON Sunrise today . . . . . . . . . .5.41am Sunset today . . . . . . . . .7.20pm Moon rises today . . . . . .3.22am Moon sets tomorrow . . .5.35pm