About Us
The UKSU Executive strives to uphold its motto at all times

Advancing and defending the interest of UKZN staff

Those members of UKSU who have been elected to serve as your Executive approach their roles with integrity and passion at all times for the rights of all UKZN staff. The membership also holds their Executive in trust, to ensure their subscriptions are used in the best interest of members.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal Staff Union (UKSU), began many years ago as a union for the support staff at the erstwhile University of Natal. Its first name was the Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA).  As time progressed and more and more academic staff saw the value in this union, it was time to change the name. The union then became the University of Natal Staff Union (UNSU).

At the time of the merger of the Universities of Natal and Durban-Westville, UNSU was at the forefront of negotiations regarding conditions of service for the new institution, including a moratorium on retrenchments for five years post-merger. At the new UKZN, there were now four unions, whereas there had been three (NTEU, NEHAWU & UNSU) At the University of Natal, At the University of Durban-Westville there was COMSA & NEHAWU, making the four unions for UKZN, namely COMSA, NTEU, NEHAWU & UNSU. 

It was then time to change the name again, this time to University of KwaZulu-Natal Staff Union, hence the short and well-known name, UKSU. Through all of this the values have not changed and UKSU continues the values and uphold the goals of its membership.

UKSU is always represented on various task teams, one being to develop the new recognition criteria for unions at the University. With the introduction in 2009 of the Recognition Agreement, UKSU was ‘officially’ recognised to serve both academic and support staff – until this time it was merely a letter stating this. In terms of the Recognition Agreement there is no distinction between academic and support staff in terms of each union’s recognition rights. UKSU is thus recognised to serve both academic and support staff interests, as are all unions. 

The Recognition Agreement includes recognition thresholds of membership, this was 20% by July 2012. At this time only UKSU held the required recognition threshold and to date is still the only union that does. UKSU holds 31% of all staff (permanent and fixed term contract >11 months) as its members.  The number of unionised staff at UKZN stands approximately 47% of all staff, with UKSU holding 65% of the unionised staff as its members, with the remainder split between the other four unions.

The Recognition Agreement provides for a bargaining forum, the Joint Bargaining Forum (JBF) and a consultative forum, the Joint Consultative Forum (JCF).

JBF deals with issues that require bargaining, being salaries and conditions of service. The JBF meets as and when necessary. The annual salaries negotiations commence in October each year.

JCF meets on the first Tuesday of every month and deals with other matters that require consultation and are listed in the Recognition Agreement as the following:
1.1 restructuring of the workplace
1.2 changes in the organisation of work
1.3 mergers and transfers of ownership insofar as they have an impact on the employees
1.4 retrenchments as provided for in the Labour Relations Act
1.5 exemptions from any collective agreement or any law
1.6 policy, criteria and procedure in respect of job grading
1.7 policy and procedures for performance management and performance incentive awards
1.8 the policies and procedures with regard to staff amenities and facilities
1.9 matters of mutual interest except those falling within the realm of collective bargaining
1.10 any other matter for consultation as required by law

UKSU representatives serve on all committees and task teams and are regularly in attendance at these meetings. 

It is obviously wise to be a union member. It is like insurance, you never know when you may need it. However, it actually is more than just insurance when trouble arrives at your doorstep. The larger the membership the more management considers the union’s strength, thus it is through a strong membership that the union draws its strength. Apart from the strength of numbers, membership entitles members to receive assistance in any labour related matter – dispute / grievance / disciplinary action / annual salary negotiations / conditions of service negotiations / ensuring management uphold the conditions of service, to name a few.

UKSU sends out regular communication to its members and calls general meetings of staff when necessary to obtain mandates for negotiations and to provide information and updates. The AGM is held between April and June each year as the constitution requires this to be held within six months of the financial year end (now December).


At the AGM members are usually provided with a gift and are always hosted with a meal and of course camaraderie. Each year the membership is called on to nominate suitable staff to serve their interests and those elected are confirmed at the AGM. 

UKSU complies with all South African statutory requirements - it employs a registered auditing firm to carry out its annual audit and as required, is registered as a trade union with the Department of Labour. 
The UKSU Executive will continue to uphold member rights and values the loyalty of our membership.
The goal of UKSU is to have a membership of 50% of all staff at UKZN. 


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