Max Price. File image: IOL.

CAPE TOWN - The University of Cape Town (UCT) has reached an agreement with trade unions and subsequently put a halt to the threat of strike action set to take place on Friday. 

This follows the ongoing student protest at the University which has threatened the normal operations of the university. 

UCT reported an extensive negotiation process which continued from Tuesday, September 13 to Wednesday. 

Finally, the university and trade unions reached an agreement and resolved two outstanding points. 

This, after the university received a notice from one of the trade unions about a proposed strike this Friday and have committed to intense negotiation with the trade unions to avoid the event of yet another strike action. 

The university confirmed the five trade unions involved in negotiations with the university were Detawu, EU, Nehawu, Salipswu and UAWU. 

UCT's Vice Chancellor, Dr. Max Price revealed the following developments: 

- The parties agreed to a work study that will assess reasonable staffing and give priority to the insourced operations 

- Resolved concerns about pregnant employees who work shifts

- Committed to a new shift pattern in residence catering with effect from 1 October 2017

- Agreed on a time frame to offer full-time roles to a group of four-hour part-time workers by 1 November 2017

- Resolved the dispute over the inclusion of Sunday pay and shift allowances in employment packages, with agreement that an additional payment would be made for hours worked on Sundays and at night.

"We believe that the spirit in which negotiations were conducted, involving representatives of five different trade unions, provides a positive signal that effective collective bargaining is possible even with multiple parties and in an extremely challenging financial environment. If the terms of the agreement can be successfully implemented it will provide a good example of what can be achieved when parties commit to meeting interests on both sides of the table. With improved efficiency in the catering shift system, the agreement should not impose an additional financial burden on the university. This will be crucial for UCT and its recognised unions in the forthcoming collective bargaining cycle", said Price. 

In response to the atmosphere at the university following the end of the proposed strike, UCT says that the executive is pleased with the agreement. 

"The spirit through which the negotiations were carried out indicated willingness from both sides of the table to see the issues resolved amicably and a commitment to improving employer-employee relations", says UCT. 

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE