Outsourced staff strike at Unisa

With their #outsourcingmustfall hashtag, outsourced contractual staff at the Unisa Sunnyside campus brought the campus to a standstill on Monday as they demanded that the university employs them on a permanent basis.

Staff of outsourced contractors downed tools at the University of South Africa’s Sunnyside main campus on Monday.

Hundreds of their employees implored the university to employ them on a permanent basis. Among these were security guards, dispatch staff and cafeteria workers.

They were singing and chanting outside the campus, denying students and prospective students entry.

For fear of victimisation, a protesters who works as a security guard for Red Alert asked to remain anonymous.

“I am not happy with the company because most of the time they do not pay us in accordance with the time we have worked,” he said.

“I started working in 2013 and I queried them for outstanding money which I have not received, yet I worked. They owed me R450 and I still have not received it.”

The man and some colleagues accused Red Alert of firing one of their employees for speaking to the media about their grievances.

Another said because they were employed on a contractual basis, they were easily exploited, and would rather be a part of Unisa’s insourced security management team.

“We want to be a part of Unisa, not Red Alert, because they take our money and don’t pay us properly, they rob us.”

Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) president Mpho Morolana said there was an agreement between students and council that there should be a multidisciplinary team on the issue of insourcing.

“The university agreed to do this last year in December but nothing has happened until today.”

He said students unable to afford their university fees should come forward so they can receive assistance from the EFF student command.

“Our demand to Unisa is that they should not exclude anyone based on financial incapacity. Students who can’t pay their fees must come forward because we are here to assist them,” he concluded.

Both the EFFSC and outsourced staff vowed to continue the protest until the university agreed to discuss their demands.

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Tshegofatso Ngobeni

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