Outsourced workers plan protest with sacked president

 

WORKERS AID: MJL Electrical workers outside the Great Hall before they got in to the Vice Chancellor’s Town Hall meeting last month. Photo: Sibongile Machika

WORKERS AID: MJL Electrical workers outside the Great Hall before they got in to
the Vice Chancellor’s Town Hall meeting earlier this year. Photo: Sibongile Machika

Axed SRC president Mcebo Dlamini and Wits workers are planning a protest at the Great Hall today in solidarity with fellow outsourced workers.

The protest action will happen throughout lunch hour, but protestors say they will continue the strike for as long as it takes to get a positive response from management.

“I hope they will disturb the exams so that the university can take them seriously,” Dlamini said.

Wits university management has been in disputes over outsourced workers formerly employed by Wits contractor MJL Electrical. MJL workers have made several allegations against the company, including non-payment of salaries as well as tax fraud.

Dlamini said that the companies that the university enters into business exploit black workers. “The university is failing to protect those workers,” said Dlamini.

Richard Ndebele, of MJL Electrical, said the workers have met with Wits management several times  yet no resolution has been found.

“We want Wits to consider a company that can absorb us, we’ve even suggested the names of companies that can do that but they don’t want to instead they (Wits) say it’s not their responsibility to do something for us,” said Ndebele.

Prof Beatrys Lacquet, the deputy vice chancellor of infrastructure and operations at Wits, has said that the university has paid what it owes MJL Electrical and the responsibility for the workers is on the company, not the university.

 

MJL workers are not the only outsourced workers to be unhappy with their lot at Wits. These workers, including those from Servest andUkweza, said they took a resolution on Friday that they will would protest in solidarity of MJL workers.

Ukweza worker, Tanya Khumalo* said she is supporting the strike because when workers from Ukweza were fired, workers employed by other outsourcing companies rallied in support of their reinstatement.

“Le rona tlamayile re ba thuse, batlo thola mosebetsi eming je ka rona bari thusitse, [We have an obligation to help them get other jobs, just like we were helped],” said Khumalo.

 

*Not real name.