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University of Pretoria staff on day six of protest over working conditions

Varsity says working conditions, hours are in line with legislation

The University of Pretoria's insourced security personnel and food services staff have vowed to continue their protest.
The University of Pretoria's insourced security personnel and food services staff have vowed to continue their protest.
Image: Supplied

The University of Pretoria’s (UP) insourced security personnel and food service staff say they will not back down in a dispute with the institution over working conditions and pay.

The group of workers associated with the Academic and Professional Staff Association of SA (Apsa) are on day six of a protest.

“We are willing to go the whole year. We are not going back to work to continue with the discrimination that is happening because we have endured this for five years. Until the employer succumbs we are not going back to work,” said Jane Mnguni, Apsa branch secretary.

“Staff has to use their vacation leave for study leave. One food service staff [member] has had to endure hardship and carry the load of five workers. With security, the old staff are working 48 hours in a week and the newly insourced are working 72 hours. We went to the department of employment and labour to question these hours.”

She said they had met management but the engagements did not bear fruit.

“We met with the university last week a few times where we tried to negotiate the conditions and hear their side of the story on how they can meet us half way.”

Mguni said when insourcing started in 2016, food services workers were excluded from maternity leave benefits and study leave.

However, the university has denied the allegations.

“The university denies the allegations and can confirm all working conditions and hours are in line with the relevant legislation. In fact, the benefits and working conditions are more and better than what is required by law and the respective sectors,” said  university spokesperson Rikus Delport.

Delport said the vice-chancellor and principal, Prof Tawana Kupe, and the COO met the striking workers on Wednesday and received a memo of their demands.

“A team under the direction of the university’s COO Sandile Mthiyane has been in constant contact with the striking workers, urging them to return to the discussions and to find solutions to the issues.”

“We remain confident the impasse can be resolved through constructive engagement and urge Apsa’s leadership to join us in seeking ways to do so in a manner that does not endanger the long-term sustainability of the university.”

TimesLIVE


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