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University of Pretoria's insourced security, food services staff continue protest against working conditions

Workers affiliated with the Academic and Professional Staff Association of South Africa protest at the entrance to the University of Pretoria. Picture: Goitsemang Tlhabye

Workers affiliated with the Academic and Professional Staff Association of South Africa protest at the entrance to the University of Pretoria. Picture: Goitsemang Tlhabye

Published Feb 14, 2022

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Pretoria - After two failed meetings to resolve the impasse with the University of Pretoria's management team, protesting workers are determined to continue their stance to ensure the fair treatment of insourced workers is achieved before returning to their posts.

Workers affiliated with the Academic and Professional Staff Association of South Africa (APSA) have continued their protest action outside the university's driveway area between the public road and the gates of the University Road entrance.

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The protest which started last week came as a result of a failure to reach an agreement with the university on various issues relating to conditions of employment of insourced staff members within the security and food services area.

The union which represents well over 500 security and food services staff, alleged insourced workers at the university were being subjected to unfair labour practices by the university.

APSA branch chairperson and member of the university senate, Eugene Maluleke said workers had been forced to work 60 to 72 hours a week something which was not in line with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of South Africa.

Furthermore, he said the leave policy of the institution seemed to be applicable only to the newly insourced workers especially those in the security and food services sector, resulting in workers only being afforded 30 days per three-year cycle instead of the 120 days due.

Rikus Delport, the university spokesperson agreed that the strike action was as a result of a failure to reach an agreement with workers relating to the conditions of employment, however, he said the university denied the allegations made by the union but was still committed to finding a solution to the issues raised.

Delport said the university had requested the union to return to discussions with the university.

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Speaking to the Pretoria News on the second week of the protest action, Maluleke said two meetings had been held with the university on Thursday and Friday however no progress had been made.

He said they were again requested by the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the university to come to another meeting yesterday afternoon to try to come to an amicable solution.

"There was nothing we could agree to in those meetings due to the arrogance of the management's approach and we realised that they don't take us seriously so we decide to continue until they are able to sit down and reason with us."

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"There is no truth in their statements that there are unfair labour practices taking place as insourced workers are being subjected to long working hours because I am part of those people working overtime."

Maluleke said even the COO had acknowledged that there was something wrong and it needed to be changed hence he was surprised that they were not telling people the truth.

Delport said for now the parties were still in talks and it was likely to continue until tomorrow.

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"Only through meaningful discussions will we find solutions without putting the university's long-term sustainability at risk."

Pretoria News

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