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Published on Oct 7, 2015


The University of Cape Town has a history of creative struggle against oppression, discrimination and disadvantage. Some UCT staff and students at this institution have been in the vanguard of South Africa’s historic change, playing a distinctive role in inter alia helping to build an equitable and dynamic nation. Those UCT staff and student’s key concerns with access, equity and quality in higher education arise from extensive practical engagement in helping the historically marginalised participate fully in the life of the nation.

But today workers at the University of Cape Town are still experiencing all forms of discrimination and inequalities. Black workers and mainly women are still marginalised, continue to earn apartheid and poverty wages and are placed in employment positions with no real benefits.

The University of Cape Town is responsible, through outsourcing, for bringing private companies into this public sector institution. These private sector companies are making profit out of public sector funding and the exploited labour of workers.

Privatisation, from public – private partnership to outsourcing, contracting out services, commercialization etc, costs workers more and delivers less. When privatizing or contracting out services to private companies for profit, the workers and the poor lose.
Privatisation puts money into business profits and cheats workers out of decent and quality jobs and wages within the University. Privatisation cheats the University Community out of services they need and deserve. We end up funding profits, not services!!!!!! Profiteering leads to reduced access, service cuts, inequality, poverty wages and bad working conditions for workers.

The vast majority of cafeteria, bookshop, maintenance workers, cleaners, catering, security workers and landscapers are employed by contractors instead of the University. These contracted service workers – not counted on the University’s official employment rolls and rarely mentioned in the public discourse – constitute the University’s invisible workforce.

These workers take home poverty wages at the end of each month;
These workers don’t enjoy proper benefits such as medical aid;
These workers or the dependants don’t enjoy proper study benefits;
These workers are unilaterally transferred from contract to contract;
These workers are summarily dismissed for minor transgressions;
These workers face discrimination each and every day;
These workers gets oppressed and exploited each and every day;

The University of Cape Town is renowned for innovation and forward thinking but when it comes to fair labour practices, the conduct of private companies and workers’ rights in private companies, the University is very much in the Stone Age.

The state of play at the University now since 1994 is that the rich are getting richer and the working poor are being exploited with contracts that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Yet, consistent with its past history the University can help fight inequality and foster inclusive growth by paying contracted workers better wages and improved benefits.

Based on the above we as workers decided to embark on a consistent campaign against outsourcing and we demand of UCT Council:
Review the Out-Sourcing as a model for service delivery in the University;

Re-Employment: Directly re-employ all workers in outsourced services within the University;

The full implementation of the recommendations off the UCT Council appointed outsourcing review committee.

A Basic Minimum Wage of R10 000. Introduce a minimum basic wage of R10, 000 plus R10, 000 annual bonuses as a step towards a living wage for workers in private companies. This must be a pre-condition for any private company seeking business at the University;

Wage Gap: Narrow the wage gap between the highest and lowest wage earner to 1 – 25 for both public and private workers at UCT. In 2014, the highest wage earner, the UCT Vice-Chancellor, enjoyed a salary of over 2.8Million per annum.

Decent benefits and facilities for workers in private companies at the University;

• Job Security. In the interim, keep and protect the workers who are here and no unilateral transfer from contract to contract;

A special thank you to the workers who shared their stories with us. Your words are much appreciated.

#EndOutsourcing #DecoloniseLabour #October6


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