by Michael Helu, Cape Town WASP

The following was originally published as an #OutsourcingMustFall statement.

The Nehawu leadership at CPUT issued a statement condemning the action of students and workers struggling to address the accommodation problems of students and the attack on workers by management who want to reduce the workers’ wages from R5,000 to R3,500 per month. Workers who are doing the same job at CPUT are earning R7,000 or more a month, but the university still wants workers to accept the slavery wages that they earned when they were employed by outsourced companies.

Further, the CPUT management has presented workers with a contract introducing benefits from the 1 August 2017 when workers had been employed from 1 January 2017 and the security workers from November 2016. This came without management engaging workers. Students demanded that the contracts of workers be signed at the Bellville campus in order for the workers to verify that their contracts are in order. If they were not they would immediately be able to meet management and engage them on any problems.

However management’s response was to employ private bouncers to harass students and workers – an action that NEHAWU is supporting in its statement!

The problem with NEHAWU’s statement is that, firstly, it supports harassment of workers and students by management. Secondly, they distance themselves from the workers’ struggle to better their conditions of the past 20 years which in that whole time NEHAWU failed to address. If NEHAWU claims that struggle against bad working conditions and discrimination is to “reverse the gains that were made by the dawn of democracy in 1994”, as their statement claims, then workers should ask which gains nehawu are  referring to and who benefited out of those gains?

Further NEHAWU failed to condemn management’s attitude in dealing with the actual issues that the workers are raising. But they came out to condemn workers and students as the enemy, clearly showing that NEHAWU is in the camp of management.

It should be noted that we not promoting violence, however we can’t allow management of CPUT to do as they please with workers and students. They must be held accountable for the mess that is engulfing CPUT.

NEHAWU states that “no one is immune to the grinding wheels of justice” but failed to condemn management’s attitude to the unjust and inhumane living conditions of students and the inhumane working conditions of workers – all of which is created by the management of CPUT and which NEHAWU has done nothing to change.

All workers at CPUT should unite and fight the unjust conditions that management wishes to impose on the insourced workers and must do so independent of NEHAWU. Only through unity can workers achieve more than they have done already. Workers have won insourcing and will remain determined to struggle against intimidation and unfair reduction of wages.


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