UFS mum on agreement with contract workers

2016-02-25 22:20
(Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

(Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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Bloemfontein – The University of the Free State did not share any details on the deal it struck with its contract workers on Thursday that resulted in an end to a chaotic strike. 

The university issued a short statement in which it said workers were expected back at work next Monday following a successful meeting with the institution's management. 

"Earlier today, the management of the University of the Free [UFS] reached an agreement with contract workers about negotiations towards outsourcing, as well as their concerns about conditions of employment with their employers," the statement read.

News24 earlier spoke to Trevor Shaku, who is on the students and workers forum.

Shaku explained that the agreement reached was that once the workers' contracts expired, the university would employ them directly. By July 2017, every worker would be insourced, he said. 

Best news ever

One of the workers, Vuyani Maseti, said he could now enjoy working at the university. "We were in pain, but now our cries have been heard. This is the best news I have ever heard," he said. 

Sandile Baleni said his life would change for the better. 

"I am glad everyone's demands have been met. It was hectic but we are going to enjoy the fruits of our struggle."

The strike by contract workers resulted in the arrest of 39 on Monday. They were found to be in contempt of court relating to an interdict that prohibited illegal gatherings. 

"The group was released on Tuesday 23 February 2016. Discussions with the university management continued after their release and an agreement was reached today," the institution said.  

Protest action by the contract workers started on last Thursday. 

Students had joined the protest, which turned violent. The statue of SA's first state president, Charles Robberts Swart, was vandalised and toppled. 

On Monday, a small group of protesters disrupted a Varsity Cup rugby match at Shimla Park Stadium, which culminated in the mass brawl between themselves and spectators. 

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