University of Cape Town (UCT) Vice Chancellor Max Price said on Thursday that the university had reached a significant degree of common ground with trade unions following threats of a strike.
More than 60 UCT employees were unhappy about their working hours and the way their retirement fund saving structure was set up.
The university entered into negotiations earlier this week with the trade unions.
A joint consultative forum and a small special task team have been established to allow all recognised trade unions to be represented to tackle any residual issues.
The latest developments follow an insourcing exercise implemented last year.
Price revealed that all parties have also agreed to a work study that will assess reasonable staffing levels across operations with priority being given to the insourced employees.
The parties also resolved concerns about pregnant employees who work shifts and they also committed to a new shift pattern in residence catering with effect from October to ensure quality service delivery.
Moreover, a timeframe was agreed on to offer fulltime roles to a further group of four-hour part-time workers.
Also resolved was a long outstanding dispute over whether Sunday pay and shift allowances were included in a previously agreed cost of employment, with agreement that an additional payment would be made for hours worked on Sundays and at night.
Price said the university believes that the spirit in which negotiations were conducted, involving representatives of five different trade unions, provided a positive signal that effective collective bargaining was possible even with multiple parties and in an extremely challenging financial environment.
He added that if the terms of the agreement were successfully implemented it would provide a good example of what could be achieved when parties committed to recognising interests on both sides of the table.
“With improved efficiency in the catering shift system, the agreement should not impose an additional financial burden on the university. This will be crucial for UCT and its recognised unions in the forthcoming collective bargaining cycle,” said Price.