Letter to the Editor: Response to the transfer of three G4S workers.

Written by UCT Left Students' Forum in Letters

Open letter to the 2013 SRC President, Lorne Hallendorff, and SRC Services and Labour Co-ordinator, Lwazi Somya.

Some weeks ago three G4S workers were moved from UCT to be placed at other G4S sites. First let  us be clear what a transfer means. It is not simply moving location, it means a drop in wages and loss of those few benefits which UCT workers have fought hard to secure. It can mean a change of working hours, of travel time and of safety. It is no small thing.

Why were these men moved? They were all members of the G4S workers' rep committee at UCT and participated in the Joint Shop Stewards Council and other workers' groups. They were involved in bringing allegations of racism, mismanagement and corruption against G4S supervisors and managers. They also raised serious issues regarding working conditions. These include: the need for shelter for guards, better protective clothing, and safer placements.

They have clearly been transferred to punish them for their actions, to protect supervisors and to break up the workers' rep committee. Even UCT has rejected the reasons given for their transfer (see below). 

On September 3rd there was a march to Bremner by G4S guards to protest the transfer and demand the return of their colleagues. Following this there was a meeting involving the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof Nhlapo; the SRC member for Labour and Services, Lwazi Somya; and a delegation of G4S workers. 

After the meeting Lwazi reported back to workers. He said that UCT had rejected G4S's explanations for the transfer of the workers and would investigate the situation further. In addition he said that in the interim, UCT would instruct G4S to return the transferred workers. It is now more than three weeks later and those who were transferred are not back. Indeed it seems one has been suspended.

We therefore call on the SRC to take serious action to make UCT act on the promises it made, and which Lwazi then made to workers. We also call on UCT management, particularly Prof Nhlapo, ensure the immediate return of the elected reps. 

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