UFS VC assures outsourced workers

UFS Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Francis Peterson. Photo: Moeketsi Mogotsi
There has been a new development in the ongoing negotiations between the University of the Free State (UFS) and the future of its current outsourced workers.

OFM News reports that the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University, Francis Peterson, wants it to be known that workers who are under contract with the service providers of the university will still be working, come January 2021.

OFM News previously reported from the university’s Bloemfontein campus when members of the Workers and Students Forum picketed because of the uncertainty of their future with the institution. Members of the forum told OFM News that they were informed their agreement with the institution was in the balance because of the effects Covid-19 had on the institution financially. Talks of workers potentially being insourced have been ongoing since 2019.  

‘’We are going to be extending the contracts of the service providers, therefore indirectly also the contracts of the workers. That decision has been taken.” He adds that it would be strange if it has not been implemented in such a way that all the workers currently working on those contracts for the university, have a job in January 2021.

Peterson added that even though the workers are not directly employed by the institution they still have a responsibility to treat the workers as they would their own.

‘’We have built a code of conduct framework or structure where the university gets to engage with the workers on a regular basis,’’ said Peterson.

A Code of Conduct officer has been placed in this position to help workers with their treatment in the workplace.

Peterson says the Workers and Students Forum once featured only workers but the institution insisted that a few students be added to the forum, taking the role of advisors.

Peterson concluded by saying that he will check the status of the agreement regarding the outsourced workers with the Human Resource Department.