Dear students and colleagues
Last week saw various interruptions on the University of Cape Town (UCT) campus which negatively affected campus operations and student activities. These interruptions were caused by University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU) members from Food and Connect, the Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO), Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge and Protea Hotel Mowbray demanding the insourcing of staff employed by Food and Connect, Bytes Document Solutions, Protea Boekwinkel, Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge, Protea Hotel Mowbray, UCT food vendors and SHAWCO. The interruptions caused by members of UAWU were in violation of the terms and conditions of the signed agreement between UCT and UAWU on picketing rules.
UAWU issued UCT with a notice of strike action for UAWU members employed by UCT to join the strike, which was due to commence on 13 September 2019. Subsequent to the interruptions and notice of the strike, the UCT Employee Relations Office engaged all UCT-recognised trade unions in a meeting held on 12 September 2019. The trade unions committed to observe and to comply with the provision of the Labour Relations Act regarding employees participating in strike action.
Notwithstanding the commitment from UAWU at the meeting held on 12 September 2019, the UAWU members participating in the strike continued to interrupt university activities. As a result of this action, UCT approached the Labour Court for an interdict to ensure that members of UAWU from other employers who were participating in the strike and interrupting university activities obeyed the agreed rules on picketing.
On Tuesday, 17 September 2019, the Labour Court granted an interim interdict against striking UAWU members. The interim interdict has been served on UAWU members participating in the strike by the sheriff of the court.
UCT recognises the right of its employees to embark on protected strike action that is lawful and peaceful and that complies with picketing rules, which have been agreed to by the union and management. We further commit to engage with all UCT-recognised trade unions on employment issues affecting their members who are staff members of UCT.
Dr Reno Morar
Chief Operating Officer
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