The POPCRU union has threatened industrial action if its demands for a pay rise are not met. The union said it would march to Union Buildings and the Treasury Department in Pretoria on September 20 to demand wage increases.
The workers are asking for a 10% raise while the government is offering 2%, including an offer of R1,000 which they rejected. Onion briefed the media on Sunday in Johannesburg.
An impending strike in the country’s criminal justice cluster that could lead to disaster if it continues. POPCRU says it won’t back down until the government pays employees what they deserve.
The union, which represents 150,000 members of SAPS, corrections and traffic services, says it is unhappy with the government’s offer.
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General Secretary Jeff Dladla said: ‘The NEC has decided that in standing up for our hard-earned gain, our members within the Criminal Justice Cluster will embark on a march to union buildings directly to the Commander-in-Chief , President Cyril Ramaphosa, to demand that public servants pay what is owed to them. A better salary provides a base that is not less than 10%, to attend all other agreements that are not implemented in the housing scheme of civil servants. The Treasury must reverse all austerity measures in the civil service.
The Department of Corrections is also said to be bleeding due to a lack of resources with 39,100 post establishments. Before 2009, it had 48,000 trained correctional officers. Dladla says it is concerning that the department currently has 39,000 positions, with 26,000 officials currently only dealing with inmates.
Dladla further adds that “officials currently dealing with detainees as of June 30, 2022 are 26,287 and this is a cause for concern, which means more altercations and deviations from the main function of rehabilitation. This is why we have seen a lot of evidence of attacks on our members in the country. Our members are slaughtered by criminals every day.
Dladla adds that they are also asking the transportation department to take over traffic duties. “The NEC Special reiterated its call for the nationalization of traffic so they can streamline the functions of all traffic fraternities to come under the Department of Transportation.”
The union has also called for an urgent crime summit to tackle high levels of crime and austerity measures. He says less than 100 police are on the ground and a lack of resources makes it nearly impossible to fight crime.
“The work we do is essential, at the same time you have to be very careful when you say they are essential even if in the way you treat them you expect them to be essential. You have to understand that if they are essential you have to treat them as such why don’t you give them what they want so that at the end of the day we don’t have a situation where they can go out and flex their muscles. We are dealing with angry people,” Dladla said.
As part of the preparation for the march, the union announces that it will hold lunchtime pickets at all police stations, correctional centers and traffic establishments.
Video: POPCRU threatens a strike if wage demands are not met