CPUT employees protest over wages
Cape Town - Scores of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) employees protested on the Bellville campus on Tuesday to demand that the university revise a 7 percent salary increase, which they claim was “unilaterally” implemented.
Staff members, including academic, administrative and other support staff, participated in the protest outside the administration building to demand that CPUT revise its offer.
In a statement last week, the Joint Union Task Team (JUTT) announced that its representatives and representatives of the university management had failed to reach a settlement in their wage negotiation dispute at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.
It said the dispute not only related to the increase of 7 percent, while workers had demanded 8 percent, but also to a housing allowance increase and other issues.
“After almost a year of externally facilitated negotiation, management changed their position which has led to the deadlock.
“JUTT has no option but to exercise its right to embark on industrial action to force management to honour the process and concede to JUTT’s demands for a reasonable living wage and harmonisation of conditions of service as required by law,” JUTT stated in its press release.
It said the increase was to compensate staff for their hard work and to allow them to manage the steep rise in the cost of living due to increases in fuel, food, interest rates, electricity tariffs, and general inflation.
On Tuesday, JUTT spokesman Ben Turner said demonstrations would continue on Wednesday. He said employees were continuing to perform their duties and only participated in pickets before work and during lunch breaks.
“We will continue to pile on the pressure until they come with a revised offer.”
CPUT spokeswoman Lauren Kansley said the institution’s management had met to discuss the strike and its affect.
“The next step will be to arrange an emergency meeting of the human resources committee of council so management can receive a mandate, without which no discussions can take place.”
In a message to the campus community last week, vice-chancellor Dr Prins Nevhutalu stated that CPUT management obtained a mandate from the council to offer a 7 percent salary increase “that was based on principles of affordability and sustainability of the institution”.
He said the increase was reasonable, given wage increases offered by other institutions in the sector and that, based on sustainability considerations, CPUT couldn’t offer more.
“Management undertakes to resolve outstanding issues with council support and, hopefully , with co-operation from JUTT.”