Update on bargaining engagements

20 May 2024 | Emeritus Professor Daya Reddy

Dear colleagues

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) management has continued engagements with the unions representing academic as well as Professional, Administrative Support and Service (PASS) staff around, amongst other matters, the 2024 salary increases.

Management recognises that negotiations by their very nature can sometimes encounter unforeseen delays, and that it is far from ideal not to have agreements in place by this time of the year. However we remain committed to reaching agreements and to implementing salary increases as soon as possible.

Updates on the bargaining engagements follow below.

Academic staff bargaining

Engagements with the Academics Union (AU) have concluded, with both parties having approached these in a constructive and collegial manner. The AU and management have agreed on the implementation of a salary increase of 5.6% and an agreement has been signed by both parties. This will be backdated to 1 January 2024, and will be implemented on 25 June 2024. The agreement includes a commitment to return all ranks of academic staff to the benchmark of the 75th percentile of our comparator circle over the next three years (2025 to 2027), using an incremental approach. The AU has indicated that it values management’s recognition that remuneration of academic staff at appropriate levels is essential to ensuring that UCT is able to attract and retain excellent staff.

PASS staff bargaining

Management’s commitment to working with all the PASS staff unions towards the establishment of a single bargaining unit, and ultimately one bargaining forum for all PASS staff, has eventually been realised. All three unions representing PASS staff – Democratised Transport Logistics and Allied Workers Union (DETAWU), UCT Employees Union (UCTEU) and National Education, Health and Allied Workers (NEHAWU) – have signed the collective bargaining agreement representing the interests of all PASS staff in the bargaining unit in payclasses 2 to 12.

In the negotiations, management presented a salary increase offer of 5.6%. This was initially accepted by the unions with the proviso that the backdated salary increases from 1 January 2024 be paid by no later than 25 May 2024. Due to the late conclusion of bargaining, it was not possible, at the time of the request, for Human Resources to accede to the request to implement the salary increases any earlier than 14 June 2024. As a result, the unions rejected the new proposed implementation date for the salary increases. The unions then referred a consolidated dispute to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Monday, 13 May 2024.

Management awaits further communication from the CCMA regarding the PASS unions’ dispute. Despite the unions’ referral to the CCMA, and the resultant delay in implementing salary increases, the university remains committed to finalising the negotiations expeditiously and, once finalised, will promptly communicate the details of the agreement.


Emer Prof Daya Reddy
Vice-Chancellor interim

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