File picture: Phill Magakoe/ANA

Johannesburg - The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has responded to attacks levelled against it by the South African Policing Union (Sapu) amid the ongoing 10111 strike. 

On Monday, Sapu and the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) held a media briefing in response to a directive ordering striking 10111 call centre workers to return to work or face disciplinary action. 

Sapu then announced it would seek an interdict against South African Police Service (SAPS) management over the threat. 

The union also slammed management for ignoring workers' demands while getting in bed with "sweetheart" unions such as Popcru. 

Popcru in a statement slammed the claims made by Saftu and Sapu as "devious" and "malicious". 

"These malicious claims are clearly aimed at misleading the public and setting off these workers against us, but most extensively, to blindly lead these workers into believing Sapu is their only hope in resolving the concerns raised.

"In setting the record straight, since 2007, it has only been Popcru’s call... that the Public Service Act employees within SAPS must be incorporated into the Police Act. This was against the backdrop that Public Service Act appointees within the SAPS earned peanuts, and there was lack of upward mobility therein."

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The union's Richard Mamabolo further said that despite the eventual signing of the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) resolution 3 of 2009, whose aim was to improve working conditions for Public Service Act, there was little change to appointees within the police service. 

This changed with negotiations in the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) in 2010 and 2011 that finally gave effect to Popcru's demand.

However, the failure to implement this clause led to Popcru leading a national march in 2013 wherein they reportedly demanded the upgrading of salaries and the incorporation.

"This action forced SAPS to upgrade salaries of clerks within the SAPS, including 10111 call centre operators in the 2015/2016 financial year amongst other categories. 

"We continued to pursue the upgrading of outstanding categories such as groundsmen, security personnel, cleaners and many others to a point where we both unions declared a dispute in the SSSBC."

Mamabolo lashed out at Sapu for its hypocritical stance and for "degenerating into a mere pawn preoccupied with [Zwelinzima] Vavi’s long-standing fight against Popcru".

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He also lamented the effect this had on striking members, who remained without salaries and even faced disciplinary action. 

"It is unfortunate that Saftu and Sapu’s renewed call to strike will exacerbate the situation for the striking members. We call upon our members to resist falling prey to egocentric calls which are not in the interest of members."