Dear Campus Community,
This morning the Rector met with a delegation of cleaners and gardeners employed by outsourced companies. They repeated their demands for immediate insourcing and a minimum wage of R10 000 per person per month. This followed our formal response to their demand which they presented last week.
We reiterated our position that our precarious financial situation does not put us in a position to afford insourcing at a minimum wage of R10 000 per month.
The R2000 wage subsidy and the study benefit that the University is currently giving to the outsourced workers represent the best we can do at the moment, without compromising the future sustainability of the University.
However, we have committed to look into the position of temporary cleaning and garden workers who have not received the additional R2000 subsidy and the study benefit. The workers then left peacefully.
Afterwards, they congregated in front of the Administration Building, singing generally in a peaceful manner, albeit that litter from rubbish bins were splashed around.
The protesting group then proceeded to the rest of the campus and we have confirmed reports of classes being affected. They later attempted to occupy the library and set alight a waste-paper bin in the basement of the library. As a result of smoke from the basement which entered the main library through the extractors, staff and students evacuated the library.
As a precaution security were deployed to protect the adjacent Robben Island-Mayibuye Archive and the police then moved onto campus to monitor the situation.
As much as we empathise with the plight of the outsourced workers, we unfortunately also have an obligation to protect the rights of all staff and students, and to ensure the integrity of the academic programme.
We have appealed to the service companies to engage their staff to ensure that they refrain from disrupting the academic activities of the University and to assist the University in managing the situation.
We would like to call on students and workers to desist from any violent activities and to respect the right of others to study and their right not to protest.
The Executive Management