File picture: Leon Lestrade/Independent Media

Cape Town - A shutdown at the University of Cape Town is planned for Wednesday and it is reported that labour issues are the “driving force” behind this.

UCT student activist Simon Rakei confirmed following a meeting held on Monday at the institution’s Lower Campus, that UCT workers have resolved to shut down the institution over what they described as exploitative labour conditions.

UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said despite the looming protest action, academic activities and administrative operations will go ahead as usual.

Rakei said: “Workers have decided to strike after an employment agreement that was not honoured. There are various other issues but the exploitative labour conditions is the driving force behind the university shutdown.” 

On Monday there were allegations made by a student publication that furniture was moved from the Steve Biko building in anticipation of protests however, Rakei said he has not yet to been to the venue to see if furniture was removed.

Moholola said: “No furniture has been moved from the Steve Biko Building of any other building on campus in anticipation of protest action. The media house that reported on this illogical claim has since publicly acknowledged that their report was incorrect.”

Moholola said UCT received a 48 hours notice of the intended shutdown.

“On Monday afternoon, the UCT executive received a 48 hours’ notice from the South African Liberated Public Sector Workers Union (Salipswu) that it intends to embark on a strike. It is important to emphasise that notice was given for a strike and not a shutdown. The strike relates to a range of issues including shift work, provident funds savings and four-hour a day work for some staff.

“The university has been engaging with unions on these matters, which included most recently a facilitated three-day employee and union relationship workshop during the week of 14 August 2017.”

Of the grievances summarised by the workers employed by UCT it included employees contesting their wage packages offered by UCT including overtime pay and workers being paid for four hours of work instead of the actual seven and a half hours worked. 

Workers have also approached the CCMA in the interim to address the labour issues. 

Cape Times