UJ striking workers

Some of the striking workers at the University of Johannesburg on Tuesday morning. Photo: ANA

UJ workers on third strike day demanding permanent jobs

The strike action started on 4 October 2019.

UJ striking workers

Some of the striking workers at the University of Johannesburg on Tuesday morning. Photo: ANA

Cleaners, security guards, and support staff who are members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) downed tools for the third day on Tuesday, 8 October 2019 at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), where they are demanding permanent jobs.

The strike action began on Friday, 4 October 2019.

UJ worker’s strike set to be indefinite

Commenting on the industrial action, Numsa spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, said the strike “would be indefinite” because the university’s management has not indicated any willingness to engage with the aggrieved workers. 

“Most of the workers have been outsourced since 2016 with no sign of being permanently hired or [having] benefits so UJ is basically acting like a labour broker.”

Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, Numsa spokesperson

Numsa’s sposkeperson added:

“We have raised these and other issues with university management and they have demonstrated a total disregard for workers and their suffering. They have no interest in dealing with these crucial issues. It is truly shocking that a university that claims its core values are ‘ethical foundation’ can shamelessly abuse workers in this way.”

Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, Numsa spokesperson

UJ comments on worker’s strike

Asked to for comment, UJ spokesperson Herman Esterhuizen said the strike was not as severe as Numsa was suggesting. He said UJ management was in fact talking to the the union in order to find a resolution.

Esterhuizen contradicted Numsa stating:

“There are only plus or minus 100 workers [on strike] and not 700 like Numsa is saying. The strike is peaceful and under control opposite the university and we are engaging with them.”

Herman Esterhuizen, UJ spokesperson

Students at the UJ campus were largely unaffected by the strike. However, one student noted that while the strike was “well organised to the point of having portable toilets”, the loud singing and chanting by the strikers were disturbing those who were in the nearby library.

By African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Moses Mudzwiti