South Africa: Campus workers strike against outsourcing

For the mobilisation and support of all students, permanent workers and communities across Tshwane

Thousands of workers at more than twenty campuses of the University of South Africa (Unisa), the University of Pretoria, Tshwane University of Technology, Tshwane North College, Tshwane South College and the Medical University of South Africa (Medunsa) engaged in a third day of strike action yesterday. Marches have taken place across the city. Workers marched from campus to campus, calling out other workers to join them. Students are mobilising in support of the workers.

Workers have submitted memoranda to university and college managements demanding (1) immediate permanent employment (2) R10,000 p/m minimum wage and full benefits, (3) opposition to any retrenchments and the permanent employment of all recently retrenched workers.

On Tuesday, outsourced workers at the Tshwane municipality joined the strike and marched alongside college and university workers to the municipality buildings to submit their own memorandum.

Outsourcing slavery

Outsourced workers at national government departments in Tshwane are also organising as part of the campaign and will soon be submitting memoranda. Outsourced workers in the private sector are also mobilising. A Tshwane-wide mass movement of the working class is developing against the modern day slavery of outsourcing.

Cleaners at universities and colleges are paid as little as R2,000 p/m for 40+ hour weeks. In national government departments, permanent security guards are paid R13,500 per month; their outsourced colleagues are paid just R4,500 for the same work. Workers demand equal pay for equal work and a living wage. The parasitic ‘tenderpreneur’ layer who profit from the outsourced contracts must go! They profit from the workers’ hard work while doing nothing.

Throughout November and December, in the wake of the victorious student movement that defeated tuition fee increases, outsourced workers at colleges and universities across Tshwane held mass meetings. They organised themselves into the #outsourcingmustfall campaign alongside outsourced workers from Tshwane municipality and government departments in the city.

#outsorcingmustfall held its first Tshwane-wide mass meeting on 09 November 2015 and is organised and led through independent workers’ committees elected by workers’ in each workplace. The first mass meeting was initiated by the Workers & Socialist Party (WASP), whose predecessor, the Democratic Socialist Movement, helped found the independent mineworkers’ strike committees that led the post-Marikana massacre strike wave in 2012.

WASP appeals for the mobilisation and support of all students, permanent workers and communities across Tshwane. The victory of this movement will raise the living standards of the working class. As we have always known, it is only our own action that can take us forward!

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January 2016