Metro cops’ strike ‘illegal’

2013-05-02 16:21

A protest by Tshwane metro police officers is illegal, executive director Console Tleane has said.

He said the officers downed tools on Workers’ Day, after the city introduced a new shift system.

“The shift system that we had until two days ago elapsed, it was a 6am to 6pm shift system,” said Tleane today.

“We have been in negotiations with the two representative unions – Samwu (the SA Municipal Workers’ Union) and Imatu (the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union).”

The city introduced eight-hour shifts for officers, citing international norms and the effectiveness of its members.

The new slots are made up of three eight-hour shifts: 5am to 1pm, 1pm to 9pm, and a night shift from 9pm to 5am.

Tleane said it was counterproductive for members to work 12-hour shifts. It created a gap in policing between 5.30 and 6 every morning and evening, resulting in traffic gridlocks in the city centre.

He said the city had been in lengthy negotiations with unions over the past two years.

Tleane said disgruntled officers could approach the bargaining council for local government.

Deputy Tshwane metro police chief Umashi Dhlamini said 40% of the workforce was on strike but the effect had been minimal.

“Our roads are still secure, they are safe. Our community and visitors in Tshwane should know that.”

The protesters, some in uniform, gathered at a garage near the Tshwane metro police department’s head office, at the corner of Es’kia Mphahlele (formerly DF Malan) and WF Nkomo (formerly Church) streets in central Pretoria.

Police officers were keeping watch.

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