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UCT strike rolls along February 19, 2007

Posted by Andreas in Cape Town, News, South Africa, University of Cape Town, Work.

The strike by workers in payclasses 5 to 12 at the University of Cape Town continued into its second day today. This morning started with successful picketing along Rosebank Main Road and Woolsack Drive followed by a convergence on Bremner building (home to the university’s administration).

From there workers marched to Upper Campus singing and toy-toying, surely an apt initiation to the throngs of students coming to UCT for their first day of lectures for the year. Most of the students looked somewhat perplexed, but the atmosphere on the plaza and on University Avenue was generally supportive.

The only exception to this that I noticed was a student holding a hastily hand-written piece of paper that read “Go Home Commies”. His childish conflation of our democratic and constitutionally-guaranteed right to strike with a political philosophy was rather comical. A dignified elder striker took him to task and let him know (with a few carefully chosen kind words) that he’d better be off to his lectures since his education was clearly lacking and rather incomplete.

At a meeting in the acoustically-challenged echo chamber that is Jameson Hall, the strikers overwhelmingly resolved to continue the strike for the rest of the day and into Tuesday. Management and the union negotiating team met at Bremner at 2pm. By tomorrow morning we should have an indication if UCT is finally prepared make a constructive offer.

Today was a good day for the strikers – it was sunny and hot and this whitey got his face and balding forehead thoroughly burnt. If there’s anything I’ve learned from this strike, it is to come prepared and appropriately accessorised. Oh, and that a united workforce is a powerful thing, of course!



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