JOHANNESBURG, October 3 – The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) on Tuesday, blasted the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi for calling it ”a sweetheart union” that has no regard for workers’ interests.
Spokesman Richard Mamabolo accused Vavi, a former secretary general of the Congress of SA Trade Unions, of continuing with ”his long standing fight against Popcru”.
“These malicious claims are clearly aimed at misleading the public and setting off workers against us, but most extensively, to blindly lead workers into believing Sapu as their only hope in resolving the concerns raised,” said Mamabolo.
Sapu is a Saftu affiliate while Popcru is affiliated to Cosatu.
The public spat between the two rival unions came after Sapu members stood their ground last week when the SA Police Service (SAPS) management instructed them to return to work by Friday or face disciplinary charges because the 10111 crime call centre strike was illegal.
This followed the agreement that the SAPS said it had signed with majority union Popcru at the industry’s Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) in August. Sapu said it would not sign the agreement as it did not address their demands. It further threatened to take the SAPS to court.
The union said this week that it would intensify its strike and march to the seat of government, the Union Buildings in Pretoria on October 16.
The SAPS said it has begun laying disciplinary charges against those that continued with the strike and did heed the call to return to work.
Mamabolo said his union was at the fore front of fighting for workers’ rights and that the agreement Popcru signed addressed staff demands.
“As things stand, those striking members are without salaries and some are facing disciplinary action. It is unfortunate that Saftu and Sapu’s renewed call to strike will exacerbate the situation for the members on strike,” he said.
“We call upon our members to resist falling prey to egocentric calls which are not in the interest of members.”
The SA Police Service (SAPS) management has begun laying disciplinary charges against striking 10111 crime call centre staffers who failed to return to work as instructed, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.
Police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the SA Police Union (Sapu) was aware of a binding signed agreement and that they could no longer claim that this was a protected strike. ”While the majority of these employees have returned to work, some have not and the necessary disciplinary action is being instituted against those members that have chosen not to return,” Naidoo said.
Members of the SA Police Union (Sapu) stood their ground last week when police management instructed them to return to work by Friday or face disciplinary charges because the strike was unprotected. This followed the agreement that the SAPS said it had signed with majority union Popcru (Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union) at the industry’s Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) in August.
Sapu said it would not sign the agreement as it did not address their demands. It further threatened to take the SAPS to court. The union said this week that it would intensify its strike and march to the seat of government, the Union Buildings in Pretoria on October 16.
The crime call centre workers first downed tools in July after wage negotiations deadlocked. The strike was temporarily suspended a few days later as negotiations resumed at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
The union then resumed the strike after accusing rival union Popcru of stalling the CCMA talks. The workers have demanded salary upgrades to be at the 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.