The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) would like to categorically clarify the misleading untruths widely spread by detractors about the sequence of events that have been unfolding regarding the genuine challenges faced by 10111 workers.
In early 2012, a directive by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) had been long issued directing all departments in the Public Service to comply with the directive of upgrading public service workers.
On the same year, the South African Police Service (SAPS) agreed in the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) that they will implement the directive as prescribed.
The directive was in essence saying they should upgrade (1) Level 3 to Level 5 for Administrators, (2) Level 3 to Level 5 for Data Capturers, (3) Level 3 to Level 5 for all Call Centres. All these were implemented accordingly.
The directive also indicated that all those at Level 5 and 6 at the time of upgrades must be upgraded to Supervisory positions. This, however, did not happen as the SAPS did not implement it.
As for cleaners, groundsmen, food-aid services, messengers, switchboard operators and general workers, nothing was implemented on their part as the SAPS alleged that some of the positions were not within the data levels within the DPSA, and the SAPS was requested to do a job evaluation, and develop a job description for these levels which do not appear on the DPSA data level, of which, according to the SAPS, was done.
There has never been a report-back to the SSSBC as to whether they were approved or not. Not even a sample demonstrating what has been done has been submitted thus far.
In 2013, POPCRU embarked on a public service march that, among others, spoke to the implementation of the same directive, demanding its implementation. It was thereafter that the SAPS implemented only a quarter of the directive from the DPSA, which talks to Data Capturers, Administrators and call takers at Call Centres.
The 10111, particularly in Gauteng, engaged with their management about their workload. This led to a Provincial Task team being established to benchmark with other Call Centres within the public service, inclusive of SARS and Home Affairs.
A Provincial report was later submitted with recommendations. The 10111 members in Gauteng threatened to go on an unlawful strike action, which prompted the then National Commissioner Riah Phiyega to go down and listen to their grievances. Unions were excluded from these discussions, and the meetings were directly between employers and employees.
What we found out from our members was that the National Commissioner sanctioned an Organisational Development (OD) to do job evaluations, benchmarking and job description. The report thereof was kept and not given to members until December 2016 when we were called as POPCRU that our members wanted to go on strike on New Year’s Eve (31 December 2016).
As POPCRU, we went and intervened, and thereafter took the matter to the SSSBC for negotiations as it is a matter of mutual interest.
We negotiated, did not find each other as the SAPS declared they are not going to upgrade them, raising financial implications among other issues.
The process of arbitration, which includes conciliation and mediation kick-started early this year (2017), and we could not agree on narrowing down issues, hence a Certificate of non-resolved matters has been issued.
This explicitly indicates that we can go to arbitration, so that the arbitrator can decide on the matter.
We have been constantly briefing our members on the matter, and as to how far the process is. We are now awaiting a date of the arbitration, as it is controlled by the availability of arbitrators because they are external people.
Our members were aware about the position of the union, and the status of the arbitration process, and some are now being hijacked by these hypocrites who even go to the extent of falsely claiming to have had 5000 striking employees whereas in reality, the 10111 establishment has a staff complement of around 850 nationally.
These demagogues are intentionally inflating numbers so they can deceive the public as being active participants and champions in addressing the 10111 matter, whereas we are on record within the SSSBC documents as having agreed as POPCRU and SAPU that we both do not support any form of strike action, and will therefore sit down and negotiate with the employer, the SAPS.
They turned around and saw an opportunity to lie to members, saying the employer wants to table a settlement on the matter. We are also aware that within the SAPS, the Legal Department assigned to Labour Relations in not advising the SAPS management correctly, but is instead advising the very union which operates and thrives through lying and misleading 10111 workers that the employer wants to table a settlement.
They do not have decision-making powers in Council, hence they decided to manipulate the genuine challenges faced by workers in an act of parading themselves for their own narrow purpose.
We still maintain that a solution will be found on this matter, and not on the streets as it has been portrayed.
We do not think the matter is at the level that warrants political intervention, we believe that the acting National Commissioner Mothiba has got what it takes to find an amicable solution with stakeholders.
This populist approach by the newly-formed federation led by a COSATU reject of spreading lies about numbers will never help workers.
We have what it takes to take the SAPS management head-on, but we will not do this through lies.
At the end of the day, we are autonomous as trade unions, and we follow our own approaches on issues.
We must never be blamed for SAPU’s failures in not achieving their goals. We shall continue fighting for the interests of our members as we have always done for over 2 decades.
We remain committed to our approach that the legal process will yield positive results for our members, and further call on members to exercise patience and allow the arbitration process to unfold.
Issued by POPCRU on 21/07/2017