The Student Command came early from festive holidays to stand side by side with the outsourced workers and continue in a struggle for insourcing that started last year. In less than seven months of fighting the issue head on, they managed to achieve what NEHAWU has successfully failed to achieve in over two decades of representing workers.
The dawn of democracy came with the eclipse of workers as part of legitimate university communities. The cleaners, landscape workers, plumbers and cooks were outsourced, put in precarious labour contracts and paid peanuts. In the process they were transformed into foreigners who cannot claim to belong to the university community.
The EFFSC’s struggle for insourcing is therefore a fundamental one about transforming the image of our universities and restoring to it a human face. Because outsourcing means universities are beneficiaries of super exploitation that has kept black workers as cheap and easily disposable labour as it was under apartheid.
Together with workers in UP, the EFFSC achieved the following:
1. Insourcing with full benefits for general workers with absorbtion starting in February 2016
2. R10,000 annual wage increase across the board with a temporary salary of R5,500 which will reach R10,000 by 2018 as they exit labour broking contracts
3. Workers and their dependants will study for free at UP pending that they fit academic requirements (APS scores required for courses).
The EFF is pleased that the EFFSC was at the forefront of these struggles and victory and that they have fulfilled one of the founding principles of the EFFSC, which is “Championing the interests of students and all workers in institutions of higher learning.”
This is what the revolutionary student wings of the EFF must do across the country. Students and workers must unite to undo the slave like conditions of outsourced workers in all universities. A democratic university must not pride itself until it has eliminated outsourcing because outsourcing has made it complicit in abuse and super-exploitation of black workers.
We call upon all other universities to accelerate the process of insourcing, and not wait for protests and shutdowns. The pedagogical and knowledge production pride of any university must be grounded on democratic campuses that respect and advance human rights: as things stand outsourcing is a crime against black workers.
ISSUED BY THE ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS