JOHANNESBURG, August 4 – The SA Police Service (SAPS) has assured the public that it has contingency plans in place at 10111 call centres as the wage strike resumed nationwide.
”We would like to reassure the communities we serve that contingency plans have already been implemented at all 10111 call centres to ensure that emergency calls are answered and responded to as a priority. These contingency plans are tried and tested as they were implemented successfully during the strike last month and proved effective,” Major General Sally De Beer said in a statement on Friday.
”We caution against people making unnecessary or hoax calls to the 10111 number and from phoning the number to ‘test’ if operators are working, as this places a strain on the queuing system. The number is intended for crime-related emergency purposes.”
Crime call centre workers affiliated to the SA Police Union (Sapu) downed tools last month after wage negotiations deadlocked. The strike was temporarily suspended for a few days as negotiations resumed at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
The union on Thursday accused its rival, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), of delaying the CCMA negotiations and frustrating the talks. Sapu said it had no choice but to strike again after trying to reach out to the police ministry.
”The union has sought an intervention at ministerial level but with no result. Therefore we are resuming the strike with immediate effect and the next phase of the industrial action will involve action by all 10111 operators and all Public Servants Act personnel in the police department,” said secretary general Oscar Skommere.
”If no progress has been made by 11th August, we shall call for a sympathy strike and marches by all the unions of the recently launched workers’ federation Saftu. We do not want to reach that stage because if we reach it, everything will be on standstill in South Africa.”
Popcru last month criticised the Sapu strike and accused it of ”jumping the gun” while talks with the employer were underway. The Cosatu-affiliated union on Tuesday urged workers to afford it time to finish the negotiations. ”Popcru is committed towards ensuring that what we started in 2013, we will finish now. We are at negotiations, a product that will cover all public servants will be achieved. We plead with members to give us time and not to be misled by those who are hell bent on promoting individual profiles in the midst of challenges faced by workers.”
The workers are demanding salary upgrades to be at same level as other call centre workers at the department of home affairs, SA Social Security Agency (Sassa), SA Revenue Services (Sars) and the presidential hotline, among others. The salary upgrades were recommended in 2013 by a task team set up by former police commissioner Riah Phiyega.