Covid-19 lockdown: State, police unions can’t agree on employment conditions for cops

SA Police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
SA Police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Government and police unions are at loggerheads over employment conditions of the SA Police Service (SAPS) members who are expected to be ready to raid the streets as the 21-day national lockdown begins at midnight on Thursday.

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said on Wednesday an agreement on the working terms of police members was yet to be achieved and “parties are currently not finding one another”.

Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said the union’s concerns included “leave dispensation, exposure to danger, provision of protective equipment and other working conditions”.

Mamabolo said the Department of Public Service and Administration had issued contradictory directives on Wednesday to heads of departments in various government departments, which has exacerbated the situation.

“Popcru has made all efforts to engage with employers where we organise, including working with other labour formations in the PSCBC (Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council) to find common ground in addressing all challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic, which affects all workers in general,” he said.

He said “engagements are currently continuing, in the hope that all deadlines are met before the end of business tomorrow”.

On a positive note, he said there was progress on the establishment of a steering committee on Covid-19.

“We have also agreed that those who get exposed to the virus will be granted special leave in accordance with agreed protocols that shall, among others, be issued as regulation by the minister”.

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