File picture: Leon Lestrade/Independent Media
UCT workers and student activists said they had no choice but to withdraw their planned strike over labour issues, after the university applied for a court interdict over two technicalities.

A meeting between the university's executive management and worker representatives yesterday ended with the parties agreeing they would meet again today. They are expected to discuss issues regarding working hours, shift allowances and pay differences among ground staff.

SA Liberated Public Sector Workers Union representative Abraham Agullas said: “We were advised to withdraw our notice because in their interdict they said we did not stipulate where on UCT we would strike or the time.

"Our mandate is a strong one and if the university's leadership were serious and committed to resolving the issues, they would bring the matter to a close.”

Agullas said vice-chancellor Max Price was at yesterday's meeting to argue that management was working to resolve the issues. University spokesperson Elijah Moholola said the university had withdrawn its urgent application to interdict the strike, after the unions informed them of their withdrawal.

“The UCT executive has worked tirelessly over the past year to address issues and to ensure the smooth insourcing of previously outsourced workers. The executive is still in negotiations with unions and workers on some issues and will honour this ongoing commitment.” 

He said Price and other senior management members would continue to meet the unions, and anyone on campus had a right to embark on peaceful and legitimate protest action.

Student activist Athabile Nonxuba said they stood with the workers, as the #FeesMustFall and #EndOutsourcing were collective struggles.

“We are one fallist movement and we are the children of the working class, who cannot stand by while our mothers and fathers are being marginalised. 

"While we do have our own student issues, we are meeting in solidarity to advance our parents struggle even if it compromises us graduating.” 

He said the students do not need to apply to strike to raise their issues.

There was a lack of leadership within Price's executive management, Nonxuba said.

When it came to the university sending private security guards to protect property, Nonxuba said UCT had breached last year's agreement, and students did not need protection from their parents.

The university said the executive wished to resolve matters through engagement, not security, but would only enforce what it needed to in order to protect operations, or where incidents of vandalism, destruction, intimidation, criminality or violence occur.