28 February 2019 | Story Lacea Loader

A group of outsourced workers and some students blocked entrances to gates of the University of the Free State (UFS) Bloemfontein Campus this morning. This follows the unprotected strike action by outsourced workers yesterday to demonstrate their demand for immediate insourcing of all jobs at the university.

The protest is ongoing, and the executive management is continuing engagement with the WSF today regarding their proposed demand for insourcing.

All academic and administrative services and activities are continuing as normal today, after some classes were disrupted yesterday and spaces on campus vandalised. The situation on campus is being monitored closely by our Protection Services and members of the university management.

The executive management remains committed to ensuring stability on campus and to the uninterrupted continuation of all academic and administrative services and activities; the executive management is furthermore committed to engage continuously with all its constituencies, including the WSF, in an open, transparent, and honest manner.

All students and staff are encouraged to constantly check the official communication platforms for updated information.

Emergency numbers for the Bloemfontein Campus:
+27 51 401 2911/2634 (24 hours on duty)

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Marketing)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393


28 February 2019: Outsourced workers at the UFS embark on unprotected strike action
Outsourced workers at the University of the Free State (UFS) withdrew their labour today to demonstrate their demand for immediate insourcing of all jobs at the university. Some students and student organisations exercised their solidarity with this intended action and participated in an unprotected strike on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The unprotected strike action follows the handing over of a memorandum by a group consisting of students and outsourced workers from the Workers & Students Forum (WSF) to the university’s executive management during the Shimla Park Commemoration Prayer Service, which took place on the Bloemfontein Campus on Friday 22 February 2019.

In response to the memorandum demanding insourcing, the executive management indicated the university management’s commitment to engaging with the WSF for the betterment of outsourced workers at the UFS and its community. The response furthermore indicated a request to initiate a formal process of engagement and consultation on the proposed outsourcing. The WSF did not accede to this request and decided to embark on today’s unprotected strike action.

Although academic and administrative services and activities continued as normal today, disruption of some classes occurred on the Bloemfontein Campus. The university’s executive management, together with its Protection Services, is monitoring the situation closely. Students participating in the unprotected strike action have been requested to uphold the right to education of their fellow students and not to participate in the disruption of classes.

Discussions regarding possible insourcing at the UFS commenced in 2016, and in 2017 an agreement was reached on a decent or living wage at the UFS. As a result, the total remuneration package of employees of service providers was increased to R7 000 as from 1 July 2017. It was furthermore agreed that the contracts with the current service providers will be rolled over until 2020. A team representing the UFS Council, the Mutual Forum (comprising NEHAWU and UVPERSU), and the Workers Forum (comprising representatives of employees of service providers at the UFS), participated in the discussions.

Additional to the agreement on a decent living wage at the UFS reached in 2017, the university management also established a service provider and contractor forum and subsequently appointed a compliance officer, who meets on a quarterly basis with representatives of the service providers and contractors to resolve issues on a real-time basis and to ensure that they are dealt with in a fair and amicable way, thus ensuring that our outsourced workers are treated in a manner which is aligned to the values of the UFS.

The executive management remains committed to engage continuously with all its constituencies, including the WSF, in an open, transparent, and honest manner.

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Marketing)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393



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