UCT exco committed to resolving bargaining issues

21 January 2023 | Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

Dear colleagues and students

Some of you would be aware that there has been talk of possible protest action by one of the unions on campus, the Academics Union (AU), which is the sole representative of academic staff at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Since late last year, the UCT executive has been working tirelessly and has engaged with the AU over wage negotiations. This has been taking place against the backdrop of very challenging and unusual circumstances, including a very difficult current economic climate.

In regular engagements with all unions, the executive has always remained open and transparent on the university’s financial outlook and its implications for the many areas of our operations.

We wish to indicate that the executive remains committed to resolving any issues relating to bargaining engagements with the AU as it relates to the wage demands. We also state that we value and respect the relationship with the AU, as we do with any of the other unions on campus.

There is currently an ongoing process to address the issues that have arisen, and we are confident that it will yield an acceptable outcome soon. It is important to emphasise that the executive is approaching every step of the process in compliance with the university’s governance procedures.

It must further be noted that it is not unusual for UCT to have not reached an agreement with any of the unions at this point of the year. Such is the nature of wage negotiations – it is not always possible to reach an agreement within an ideal timeframe given the demands from recognised unions and other factors that the university needs to consider.

We wish to assure the campus community that the executive will do everything possible to, at best, avert any possible staff protest action and to ensure that there is minimal to no impact on university activities. All university activities are scheduled to continue as planned.

We will continue working hard to ensure that parties do find one another in pursuance of a reasonable collective agreement.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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