Academic and PASS staff salary increment for 2023

31 January 2023 | Dr Reno Morar

Dear colleagues

I write to share updates relating to 2023 salary increments for both the academic and professional, administrative support and service (PASS) staff.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) executive has signed an agreement with the Academics Union (AU) over salary increases for 2023; and the option to implement discretionary increases will be exercised for PASS staff.

Academic staff salary increment

Following the last update shared on 21 January 2023, the UCT executive has delivered on our commitment to ensuring that an agreement is reached with the AU. Both parties signed an agreement for a 6% salary increment on Friday, 27 January 2023, bringing to a close negotiations over salaries and other related aspects for UCT’s academic staff members. The salary increases will be implemented in the February 2023 pay run, backdated to January 2023.

The UCT executive has continued working tirelessly to give effect to our commitment to resolving the issues. The executive approaches engagements with any of the recognised unions over bargaining-related issues in a cordial and respectful manner, in a process governed by confidentiality.

The executive is pleased that, having taken on a very mammoth task of traversing a number of challenging factors, including the current economic climate, we could ultimately find a way to table an offer that was acceptable to both parties.

It was also important that both parties found each other without any impact on the university’s activities.

The UCT executive acknowledges the crucial role by several stakeholders in this process, including but not limited to the UCT Council, Council’s Remuneration Committee, colleagues in the Leadership Lekgotla, the UCT negotiating team, as well as staff in the Finance and Human Resources departments. These colleagues have spent endless long days, and sometimes nights, in various engagements which culminated in an agreement being reached.

PASS staff salary increment

In 2022, UCT notified all the relevant PASS unions that we wish to establish a single bargaining unit for staff in pay classes 2 to 12. The UCT executive had extensive engagements on this with the unions concerned in the second half of 2022.

The university makes it clear that this move does not in any way seek to bring to an end our long-standing relationships with any of the PASS unions. On the contrary, it continues to recognise the unions on substantially similar terms regarding organisational and similar rights as in the past.

The only material change that is proposed is that UCT wishes to engage in a single bargaining forum for PASS staff in pay classes 2 to 12, rather than under the current multiple arrangements. It should be noted that UCT has a single bargaining forum for all academic staff matters.

The university has since given notice to all recognised unions representing PASS staff in relation to the establishment of a single bargaining unit. All the unions’ organisational rights are still in force.

In November and December 2022, UCT held facilitated sessions with the four PASS unions – Democratised Transport Logistics and Allied Workers’ Union (DETAWU); National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU); University and Allied Workers’ Union (UAWU); and the UCT Employees Union (UCTEU). These were facilitated by an external senior commissioner accredited by the CCMA and chosen by all the unions.

The executive and the coalition of unions resolved a number of issues, except for the single bargaining unit one, which the UCTEU did not agree with. However, in spite of this, all parties agreed on the following as reflected in the final report by the commissioner:

  • in order to cater for salary increases, the executive should implement a discretionary salary increase for PASS staff,
  • the executive could proceed with legal steps in establishing a single bargaining unit and give timelines for doing so,
  • once the decision on a single bargaining unit has been made via legal avenues, the parties are at liberty to negotiate above the discretionary increment.

In accordance with this agreement, the executive will therefore implement a discretionary 6% increase for PASS staff. The salary increases will be implemented in the February 2023 pay run, backdated to January 2023.

The executive continues to value its long-standing relationship with the unions and we hope to keep working with them under the new recognition agreement.


Dr Reno Morar
Chief Operating Officer

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