Popcru threatens more protests

2013-05-29 20:26
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Popcru members march for higher wages

Members of union Popcru gathered across the country to protest against police salary grades.

Cape Town - Police staff will hold more marches if Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa remains silent on a salary deal in his budget vote, Popcru president Zizamele Cebekhulu said on Wednesday.

He said Mthethwa and national police commissioner Riah Phiyega had been quiet on critical issues, and had not shown responsibility and accountability.

"We want to say: 'Comrades, this is the beginning. If you do not respond, national commissioner, tomorrow [Thursday], we are going to the budget vote speech and if, from the budget vote speech, we do not have our money, we will go on and march'.

"This is not a threat. It is going to happen."

He was addressing a crowd of about 300 protesting police administration staff outside the provincial police building in Cape Town.

The staff, aligned to the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), marched to the building to hand over a memorandum of demands concerning a safety and security sectoral bargaining council agreement signed in 2011.

They were irate that the agreement had not yet been implemented and called for this to happen within two weeks.

They wanted all Public Service Act personnel upgraded from salary levels one, two, three and four to salary level five, and all supervisory clerks to level seven.

They wanted Public Service Act staff to be incorporated into the SA Police Service, as a category, in line with the agreement.

They called for clear career pathing which separated operational and administrative staff, and for equal pay for work of equal value.

Cebekhulu said police management was acting as though it was "business as usual" and was waving a red card at staff by saying they could not strike because they were an essential service.

"We had to leave our jobs and leave our society unattended just because of you. It's too nice to stay in the office, it's too nice to give us nothing," he said.

Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said all police officials would be told to strike if the department did not implement the agreement.

He said Phiyega was not abiding by the law.

"Phiyega has a responsibility to make sure that these agreements are implemented... In this country, we have rules and we have laws. The workers must always follow the laws," he said.

"If you don't want to follow the laws... then we'll tell all of the police, whether they're essential services or not, to come out on strike with all of us, until we win those demands."

Ehrenreich said he represented more than 240 000 Cosatu members in the province, and he wanted the police staff to know they were behind their struggle.

"It's because of that solidarity that we are telling the SA Police Service that we will not tolerate their discrimination, and we will be back here with you unless they pay you the decent wages you deserve."

He said Popcru refused to believe that the police did not have enough money to implement wage increases, as it claimed.

At least 12 police officials stood in front of the building while the crowd was being addressed.

The union members called on staff watching from the windows to leave their offices and join them below.

Deputy provincial police commissioner Major General Hendrik Burger accepted the memorandum of demands and said he would make sure it was acknowledged by the right people.

He also thanked the protesters for marching peacefully.

Read more on:    popcru  |  cosatu  |  nathi mthethwa  |  riah phiyega  |  cape town  |  protests

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