Workers and management at UKZN are still deadlocked

    The University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College campus and its general workers have still not reached an agreement regarding outsourcing by the University. KWAZI DLAMINI rounds up the latest from Durban. 

    Cleaners and gardeners downed tools two weeks ago demanding the institution ends outsourcing. They want to be employed directly by the institution. Four people,  two female workers and two male students were arrested on Monday, and by Friday were still in need of legal representation.

    The protest appears to be spiralling beyond the control of the university as a video of students who have joined the protest in solidarity with the workers has been widely shared on social media.

    (Video reproduced here from Facebook)

    The video appears to show students being manhandled by the security guards. The SRC president Bandile Majola was allegedly assaulted and arrested by the guards together with other members, and students have promised to shut the institution down on Friday.

    In a statement, the Right2Know Campaign in Kwazulu Natal condemned the university’s handling of the ongoing protest. “UKZN should meet with the workers to hear their grievances instead of hiding behind court orders. We strongly condemn the University’s attempt to repress the workers and the students’ right to protest. We also condemn the extreme violence by police and private security after being called in by the institution,” the statement said.

    UKZN protest Feb 2016 2

    Cleaners are reportedly earning as little as R2,200 a month but their payslip proved that they are actually earning R1,700 a month without benefits. The workers also want their children to have the same privileges other workers’ children have, including studying for free in UKZN. The campus looked like a dumping site after two weeks without workers – dustbins and rubbish are scattered across campus and toilets look like there was a sewage pipe malfunction.

    Also see: UKZN workers on outsourcing: “My dignity as a human being is reduced to nothing”

    Students in leadership positions have been wary of speaking to the media, in apparent fear of retribution from the university. “Our SRC was targeted, the security guards had knives on campus and were manhandling female students as you saw the video on Facebook, the president was shot and badly injured they were arresting everyone with an organisation t-shirt. Some were arrested yesterday and they will appear at CR Swart court today – they took five students and one worker,” one student leader said.  “We had to support our parents because this strike also affects us. There is no hygiene on campus, we cannot stand by and watch our parents being used.”

    UKZN protest Feb 2016 4


    All images: Qiniso Mbili/The Daily Vox