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Coalition Unions Demands & Management Response

19 Bargaining  - summary of union demands and management response

9 November 2018




Demands presented 26 October 2018

Management Response 9 November 2018


Wage increases:


PC2 and PC3 – to be abolished, with pay levels to start at PC4

PC4 to be paid at PC5 level

PC5 to PC6

PC6 to PC7

PC7 to PC8

PC8 to PC9

PC9 to PC10




The management team has clarified that these demands do not involve moving away from the current system of grading jobs according to their different requirements of qualification and complexity (according to the grading system).  The unions confirmed that the proposal is for new pay levels to be established for the current grades or payclasses, but at new pay levels as for the higher grades indicated.


The demand would result in very significant percentage increases that are not affordable and that would distort the cost structure and the external market.  The demand is therefore not agreed.


The main advantages and benefits of Job Grading and different Payclasses include: all positions across the whole organisation are evaluated using the same methodology and criteria to ensure that similar work can receive similar pay.  This assists in measuring the competitiveness of organisational pay scales against market rates.


The management offer is either-

  1. for a single year deal (if the unions are willing to agree on an increase for the 2019 year only): CPI increase for PC2 to PC6 (this is 4.6% measured on a national basis year on year as at June 2018); or alternatively
  2. for a three year deal: CPI plus up to 1% for each of the three years;  CPI would be as measured year on year in June each year to determine the increase for the year ahead; the management team would be prepared to negotiate slightly different increases for different payclasses if the unions agree to smoothe the wage curve, as long as the overall increase does not amount to more than CPI plus 1% for each year.


Management has noted an initial concern expressed by unions about the option of a CPI-linked multi-year deal, which is that CPI may drop to low levels in future years.  The management team is willing to explore the principle of a fair model that deals with the risk of unexpected moves in CPI.  This could, for example, include a guaranteed minimum increase and a maximum cap.  This would be for further discussion.



COE Structure Abolished



This demand is not agreed.  Management does understand that employees would like to see the impact of any pay increase offered (broken down by basic salary and each relevant benefit) and will prepare pro-forma payslips for salary increase offers (per payclass) as was done in 2017 in order to assist with communicating the effect of any increase on a staff member’s CoE.



Medical aid subsidised by employer at 80%



This demand is not agreed, but the need for healthcare is understood. Management proposes to –

  1. continue with the Primary Care Option with Discovery Health (at employee cost if selected) but this will only be possible if the Council for Medical Scheme approval is granted for this product;
  2. continue with options for an on-site clinic; and
  3. in the short term reintroduce basic health services for staff (at the university’s cost) at an on-site venue, while exploring the options for an on-site clinic.



Monthly housing allowance of R2700



This demand is not agreed, although the importance of providing support for housing is understood.  The cost of employment rate of pay is benchmarked against pay that includes all allowances of this kind. 

UCT has entered into preferential arrangements with ABSA, FNB, Standard Bank and Nedbank in order for staff to access preferential rates and access to housing loans which include loans for housing which is temporary and not only for immovable property.

Following the 2017 bargaining cycle the Social Assistance Unit was established within the Human Resources department to facilitate, implement, co-ordinate and provide proactive social assistance support to UCT staff.

Government contributes to reducing the cost of living in three ways:

  • Investment in the social wage, comprising education, health services, social development, public transport, housing and local amenities
  • Support to vulnerable households through the old age grant, the child support grant and other social assistance grants.
  • Contributory social security, including unemployment insurance, injury compensation and death or disability benefits.

HR has appointed a Social Assistance Co-ordinator who provides support and facilitates access to forms of external social assistance or social wage, including:

  • housing subsidies / loans
  • healthcare services (e.g. family planning, clinics, chronic medication)
  • social grants
  • legal aid
  • any other services for which UCT staff may qualify

In relation to housing specifically, management proposes that the social assistance unit will provide regular and concrete on-site support to staff members who want to access housing loans under the preferential agreement with banks, or housing subsidies (from government) where these are available.



13th cheque based on salary earned



The 13th cheque is currently optional (as previously agreed with unions.  Employees are able to choose whether to receive annual salary in 12 payments or in 13 payments, with the 13th payment made in November.  The cost of employment rate of pay is benchmarked against pay that includes any such 13th cheque or similar payment. 


An additional payment above CoE is not supported.



Deep cleaning allowance of R4000



The deep cleaning allowance was settled by collective agreement with coalition unions in September.  The parties have agreed to negotiate pay issues in an annual cycle, and the management team does not agree to reopen this issue immediately after it has already been agreed.



Shift allowance paid at 25% of PC6



The shift allowance was agreed in a collective agreement with coalition unions in 2017, at 10% of the payclass 5 hourly rate.

The management proposal is that this will increase for 2019 at the rate of the increase agreed for payclass 5 employees in this bargaining cycle.



Zero fees for staff, partners and dependants






Part 1: The management response is that for households with income below R350 000 the NSFAS benefit is better for staff than the UCT subsidy, and covers all tertiary institutions. The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) also provides a fee adjustment grant where the Government will pay the fee increase capped at a maximum of 8% (for 2018) for all qualifying registered students with a gross combined family income up to R600 000 per annum in 2018. This is a grant and will not have to be repaid by qualifying students. The grant will only cover tuition fees and accommodation provided by universities.


For higher paid households the fee subsidy remains 75%. 


Part 2: The demand for automatic entrance to UCT if dependants meet minimum criteria is not agreed on the basis of academic entrance principles at UCT.  A student will have to meet the minimum criteria + the academic entrance requirements per course.



Acting allowance from first day of acting



The management response is that–

  1. the opportunity to act in a higher position provides important opportunities for personal development and exposure in a higher level post so that the staff member builds experience for when higher level posts become vacant;
  2. the use of acting should not be abused or used instead of filling a post;
  3. all single days of acting must be taken into account and added up cumulatively;
  4. a process of maintaining electronic records of all days of acting should be introduced;
  5. an allowance will be paid (as in the current policy)  when a staff member acts in a more senior capacity either (i) for 15 continous working days or longer, or (ii) for an aggregate of 22 working days or longer in one calendar year.



Recognition of improved qualification – payment of 10% of annual salary



The management response is that consideration is given to other ways to fund and support the formal development of staff. The Staff Learning Centre is running a two-year pilot project to improve staff basic education levels, supporting a two-year Matric and one-year GETC programme.  This offering has a positive impact on staff members and encourages employee well-being and engagement. 


The demand for additional pay is not agreed, as improved qualifications can lead over time to career progression and other forms of recognition.



Review of development dialogues



The management response is to agree.  Management will engage unions further in the ongoing review of Reward and Recognition at UCT.


AWA Policy to be abolished



The management response is to agree that the AWA policy should not be misused to avoid advertisement.  It does not agree that the policy be abolished, but does agree that it be reviewed with engagement with unions as part of the recruitment policies currently being reviewed, to ensure that effective measures are put in place to prevent misuse.


TES policy to be aligned with labour legislation




The management response is to agree.  This does not, however, imply that UCT will insource every labour broker utilised for specific projects. 


Representation at Senate and Council (one member per union)



The management response is that this demand has been referred to Council as part of review of composition of committees.  There are statutory limitations in terms of the the Council constitution which is currently in discussion as part fo a broader committee review with the department of Higher Education.  Management will inform the unions of the status and progress of this review. 


SHE Rep to be elected by organised labour



The management response is to agree. UCT policies and agreements to be reviewed with engagement with unions to facilitate this.


Auction of UCT property – staff must have first right to attend



The management response is to agree.  This should already happen under the current policy (‘Disposal of redundant and second hand goods Policy’), and management agrees to work with unions on ways to ensure that the policy is correctly applied to facilitate this.


Catering shifts : staff must work Monday to Friday only



The management response is that the catering operation provides three meals a day seven days a week.  All jobs in kitchens require work in shifts to cover all of these times, subject to UCT weekly and monthly maximum working hours and policies on shift allowances, overtime work and so on.  No jobs exist in kitchens from Monday to Friday only.

The management team understands that the shift pattern previously agreed with unions has not provided sufficient staff to cover weekend shifts. 

The DSA is to provide the bargaining team with an implementation plan to correct this.  This will be tested with the Unions.



Insourcing of Shawco, Nashua and Protea Bookshop



The management response is that this demand is not agreed, and that it does not fall within the management mandate on bargaining over conditions of service for UCT staff


Abolish the practice of placing employees below standard package




The management response is that placement below the standard package of the range normally happens only based on qualifications and experience when the staff member is new to the job. Following a formal performance assessment and once there is evidence of demonstrated performance on the job and the staff member is meeting all of the requirements of the job the staff member is placed at standard package.  Staff new to a job are assessed through the interview process.

Placement within ranges based on performance will form part of the current review of recognition and reward with the unions, but unless changed as a result of that process, the current practice will remain as per previous agreement with unions.



Free voluntary health checks





The management response is to agree.  The Organisational Health Section currently provides Quarterly Wellness Events which offer voluntary free health checks. Many staff from the coalition already participate in these events but details will be provided to the unions on these events going forward.  See also the response to item 3 above.


UCT to facilitate injury on duty claims



The management response is to agree. The process for this will be shared and discussed with the unions, and unions will be provided with the details of the responsible UCT office, which falls under the Health and Safety Office.


Representation of students in all UCT worker forums



The management response is that this is not agreed.  UCT engages with students in various forums both as students and stakeholders, and engages with trade unions on staff issues.   


Long service awards to be reviewed:


5 years – R2500

10 years – R5000

15 years – R7500

20 years – R10 000

25 years – R15 000

30 years – R20 000

35 years – R25 000


The management response is that long service awards were reviewed in the 2017 bargaining cycle (from a small gift for 5 years, up to R9,000 and R12,000 for 35 and 45 years).  UCT does not agree to increase the awards this year. 

Long service awards to members of the professional administrative and support staff take the form of an annual recognition event, which is scheduled to take place shortly.