Pretoria - Certain office workers in police stations countrywide have threatened to take legal action against the management of the SAPS and their union if they do not get their salary increases in line with an agreement signed in 2011.
The workers are unhappy about the exclusion of most of them from the ongoing job grading and subsequent salary increases, as well as the manner in which the process was being implemented by the management.
The first group of workers to benefit from this process received their salaries on January 16 this year, backdated to April 1, 2013.
However, even those who already have their payouts in their bank accounts have expressed their unhappiness with the amount they got and indicated they would file an internal dispute.
The workers also want the payouts to be backdated to 2011 when the agreement was signed, and not last April as appears to have been the the case.
According to the aggrieved workers, neither the management of the police service nor the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has explained to them how the process is being rolled out.
The workers have since threatened to turn against Popcru, claiming the leaders of the union have not represented their interests effectively on the matter.
This is because “most of the leaders are uniformed police officers and therefore not necessarily affected by this process”, the office workers say.
In terms of the 2011 agreement signed at the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council, the employment of office workers and various other support personnel should be governed by the South African Police Services (SAPS) Act. They were previously employed under the Public Service Act.
Under the police legislation, members of the administrative staff and uniformed police officers with similar experience, expertise and qualifications will enjoy similar employment benefits.
The national police commissioner, General Riah Phiyega, told a Popcru conference in Pretoria last November that the issue of police promotions and upgrading of positions had taken a long time to implement because of a lack of funds.
Feeling undermined and not valued by the management, the leadership of Popcru led the workers on marches across the country, demanding that the agreement be implemented without further delay.
The typists and data capturers received a memorandum yesterday highlighting that the grading had been implemented and affected employees’ salaries adjusted during January and February, backdated to last April.
The Pretoria News spoke to several members of the administration staff in police stations who were united in expressing their unhappiness about the issue.
“At the moment, the situation is very demoralising because some workers have received their increased salaries while others have not,” said an insider, who has asked not to be named.
“We will be left with no option but to turn to the courts and ask for intervention. There has been no word from the union or management on the entire process.”
The workers said they had been waiting for more than a decade to be upgraded from salary levels which saw the majority of them earning less than R100 000 a year.
Nkosinathi Theledi, the general secretary of Popcru, said they were aware of the challenges related to the job upgrading and subsequent salary increases.
Theledi said the union was taking up the matter with the police management and would update its members once consultations had been concluded.
The union had yet to comment on the threat by members to take legal action.
The police management gave no further clarity on the issue with national police spokesman Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale saying: “We are still busy with this process regarding positions.
“We have been communicating with our employees on the process, which is yet to be finalised. We intend to brief the media in the near future once it has been finalised.”