hefma logo

Students force universities to re-consider outsourcing

The focal point of the nationwide protests by students in South Africa is moving from ‘free education’ to ‘better working conditions’ for some university employees. The University of Cape Town has already announced it will review its outsourcing strategy but students elsewhere in the country intend to force their universities to do a similar approach too.

Apart from students at UCT, students at Wits University have also staged protests against, what they call unfair treatment of workers employed by some service providers to the university. The workers and students want to see the workers incorporated into the university.

What seems to be a resolution has finally been found at UCT and UCT Vice Chancellor, Max Price announced that the university will indeed do away with outsourcing and immediately resort to insourcing. Vice Chancellor Price said that the university will have to find the funding needed to achieve insourcing. This agreement saw students and staff making a commitment to allow for resumption of all operations in the institute.

Vice Chancellor Max Price made an assurance that the university will ‘somehow’ make a plan as to how the funding will come about. He was quoted saying, “We are aware that insourcing will incur significant costs. The recent waves of students and workers protests at UCT and nationally for lower fees and insourcing have seen us making the commitment to find the funding somehow.”

There are about 900 workers employed by service contractors at UCT. According to estimated statistics from last year, outsourcing will cost an additional R 58 million a year, plus an initial ‘upfront asset purchases’ of about R 68 million.

The facilities management department at UCT, and likely at other universities too, will now have to review their budgets for next year to see how they can continue delivering their services knowing that the university will not be able to hike the fees it charges students, while more is expected from the facilities management department.

Powered by GO Better Publishing