Some of the striking workers at the University of Johannesburg on Tuesday morning. Photo: ANA
Some of the striking workers at the University of Johannesburg on Tuesday morning. Photo: ANA

JOHANNESBURG - Cleaners, security guards and support staff who are members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) downed tools for the third day on Tuesday at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), where they are demanding permanent jobs.

The strike action began on Friday.

Commenting on the industrial action, Numsa spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, said the strike "would be indefinite" because the university's management has not indicated any willingness to engage with the aggrieved workers. 

“Most of the workers have been outsourced since 2016 with no sign of being permanently hired or [having] benefits so UJ is basically acting like a labour broker,” said Hlubi-Majola.

“We have raised these and other issues with university management and they have demonstrated a total disregard for workers and their suffering. 

"They have no interest in dealing with these crucial issues. It is truly shocking that a university that claims its core values are ‘ethical foundation’ can shamelessly abuse workers in this way.”

Asked to for comment, UJ spokesperson Herman Esterhuizen said the strike was not as severe as Numsa was suggesting. He said UJ management was in fact talking to the the union in order to find a resolution.

Some of the striking workers at the University of Johannesburg on Tuesday morning. Video: ANA

“There are only plus or minus 100 workers [on strike] and not 700 like Numsa is saying. The strike is peaceful and under control opposite the university and we are engaging with them," said Esterhuizen. 

Students at the UJ campus were largely unaffected by the strike. However, one student noted that while the strike was "well organised to the point of having portable toilets", the loud singing and chanting by the strikers were disturbing those who were in the nearby library.

African News Agency