UCT agrees to principle of insourcing
28 October 2015 | Story by Newsroom
Released: 09h30, 28 October 2015
28 October 2015
Dear colleagues and students
I write to inform you of a key decision taken by the executive with the support of the Council.
Last night, we made a commitment to the principle of insourcing. A process to determine the modalities, framework and timeframes of the implementation of this decision will need to be agreed upon by all parties involved. This decision assumes that we will have a commitment from staff and students that operations at the University of Cape Town will be allowed to return to full capacity.
We are aware that insourcing will incur significant costs. The recent wave of student and worker protests at UCT and nationally – for lower fees and for insourcing workers – has emboldened us to commit to finding the money somehow. Across the institution there now appears to be widespread support for moving away from outsourcing.
The executive recommended to Council last Saturday to shift our previous approach to outsourcing and we have made a commitment to the UCT community to have a decision on the matter by 1 November 2015. Since that Council meeting, a team has worked intensively for the last three days to see what a commitment to insourcing would mean and how to enable it. Based on this, the executive last night recommended to Council that we make a commitment to the principle of insourcing the current outsourced services on our campus. The majority of Council members have indicated their support for the decision.
Insourcing these services will have significant cost implications, especially coming on top of the reduction in revenues that the 0% fee increase will mean. A concerted effort will have to be mounted to convince the state to make available additional funding, and we will participate fully in the ministerial commission that will investigate outsourcing on university campuses over the next six months.
The process to implement our decision will now commence. As previously announced, we have suspended the tender processes for new contracts where existing contracts are due to end soon.
The university has over the years grappled with the issue of insourcing/outsourcing. A decision to insource was always complicated by the fact that it would have severe financial implications. Recognising the potential of outsourcing to create exploitative conditions of service for workers, we believe UCT has done the most to protect outsourced workers, not only amongst the universities of the country but arguably amongst all companies that outsource. This includes setting a minimum wage and monitoring employment practices.
We continue our discussions with various stakeholders to bring the campus back to full operation. As you know, the set of exams scheduled to be written from 27 October to 13 November 2015 has been postponed. This entire set of exams for 27 October to 13 November will be moved to a new date, which is as yet undetermined. Once the new date is set, students will be given notice in order to be able to prepare properly. We are now working on a new schedule and will announce it as soon as we can.
Please watch the UCT homepage for updates.
Dr Max Price