1011 Workers are paying a heavy price for the management in the same bed with sweetheart unions!
2 October 2017
The public will recall that the 10111 workers embarked on a protected strike on 18 July 2017, following a protracted engagement between SAPU and SAPS. The workers are demanding that the government treat 10111 workers the same as the workers in other government call centers. The 10111 workers are demanding recognition of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and to be paid at Level 7.
Under normal circumstances the strike was not necessary as there exists a concrete agreement with the then Commissioner of Police, Ms Riyah Phiyega to address this anomaly and injustice.
Ever since the strike commenced, SAPU and SAFTU have done everything to engage with authorities in an attempt to resolve the strike. This includes giving our full cooperation to the CCMA-initiated conciliation, engaging the Minister of Police, Mr Fikile Mbulula and writing a letter to the Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa.
Regrettably he could not even acknowledge the letter, or, worse, not respond to the pleas of the 10111 workers. We can only hope this is not yet another indication of how things will be if he becomes the President of the country in the future. Minister Mbalula promised that he understood and agreed that this was an injustice and promised to act – dololo action!
Ever since we took this tough stance against the SAPS management we have not been afraid to state categorically clear that our membership department was busy signing up new members from other unions organizing in 10111. Within a short period of time we closed down our rival unions because members could see for themselves that SAPU is their only hope and the only true union with their interests at heart.
This popularity of SAPU was a cause for concern to management and sweetheart unions. We are of the view that this rival union and management decided to punish workers who decided to take up a battle against this injustice and for choosing SAPU and SAFTU as their representatives.
Since then management and POPCRU signed an agreement, on 4 August 2017, purportedly on behalf of all 10111 staff.
This agreement has not attempted by any means to assist 10111 operators; in actual fact the reality of this agreement was to pave the way to rendering our protected industrial action illegal. It was through this misguided understanding that Deputy National Commissioner Mgwenya issued an illegal instruction on Thursday 28 September 2017 that all 10111 operators should abandon their protected action and go back to their posts by Friday 29 September 2017.
Class Collaboration at Work!
Instead of addressing the demands of the workers management has not only been extremely intransigent, but has rushed to get these workers’ status changed from being employed in line with the provisions of the Public Service Act to Police Act, with the sole intention of getting the 10111 workers declared essential services so that they may not use their power now and in the future.
Management found a sleeping partner in the form of a captured POPCRU. These two signed the agreement on 4 August that forces workers to be declared essential services under the Police Act whilst not addressing any of the issues that led to the strike, in particular the demand for equal pay for work of equal value.
We condemn in the strongest term the attempts by the Deputy National Commissioner to bully these workers into submission. She wrote to all workers on strike on the 28 September erroneously stating that the strike is no longer protected since her unilateral declaring of these workers to be essential service workers in the middle of the strike.
We have also noted the intimidating tactics by General Mgwenya, including threats of disciplinary action against members. We have also decided to interdict the SAPS against acts of intimidation as we are of the view that General Mgwenya's instruction is nothing more than intimidation.
SAPU would like to warn the SAPS management not to dare take such steps against our members. We will defend our members up to the highest court in the land. The so-called 4 August Agreement is nothing more than an attempt to bring our rival union back to life as it has lost tens of members because of this toxic relationship with the management.
We want once again to warn members to be extremely careful of unions who shout revolutionary and socialist slogans by day and sleep with the management by night. There is nothing that will benefit 10111 employees from this sell-out agreement. We are therefore continuing with our struggle until our demands are fully met.
The legal action against the SAPS is being prepared as we speak.
We will also march to the Union Buildings on 16 October 2017 and have secured sympathy from the South African Federation of Trade Unions that will launch solidarity pickets on the day of the march to the Union Buildings on 16 October 2017.
SAPU, as a true workers vanguard will never sell its members out to the highest bidder. We will not be intimidated nor will we be shaken by acts of provocation and empty threats. Let the SAPS come to its senses and swallow its pride. 10111 operators demand parity, justice and a living wage. Equal pay for equal work is an non-negotiable principle. We have gone too long for us to give up now. Forward ever!
Issued by Oscar Skommere on behalf of SAPU, 2 October 2017