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South Africa's UWC cleaning staff protest against outsourcing
University of Western Cape cleaning staff took part in a protest against outsourcing and low wages on Monday. In the morning they occupied the university's administration building and later in the day more than 100 of them gathered outside the student centre and administration building, emptying rubbish bins before banging on them and singing.
The cleaners say they are fed up with there work being outsourced. They also complain about what they say are inadequate 'remedial wages'.
Spokesman Noel Fester said that cleaners only earn R2 700 (£32.16) a month which hardly covers basic necessities. He said his dreams of further education had been dashed. "I have a National Senior Certificate, but I can't study," he told the Independent Online. "I am paid a minimal wage.
"We are not offered the same perks that staff employed directly by the university are offered. They get a discount when they are employed by the university. The way things are now not even my children will be afforded a tertiary education."
Protester Nompha Nkalane also told the publication that outsourced staff members wanted the university to employ them.
"We want a better wage and we want the university to employ us so our families can also benefit and study further," she said. "People are angry about the R2 700 they are paid. It is a small amount and we cannot get by with that.
"Travelling fees and food already take up most of the money we receive. I have children, it is a matter of providing for them and seeing that they are in school with a full tummy."
Protest organisers said that the university's executive promised to look into the issues but had not returned with adequate results as yet. Names of some casual workers who were apparently not paid for their services from November last year were recorded by the organisers.
UWC spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo told the Independent Online: "The university vice chancellor addressed the delegation of outsourced workers at the university this morning with regard to the demand of R10 000 a month and being made permanent.
"The university council will deliberate on this matter at its next council meeting. In the interim the university has provided an amount of R2 000 a month to outsourced staff members at the same rebate benefits as permanent staff. That means the staff, their children and spouses are able to study at the university."
Image: courtesy of Independent Media
25th February 2016