JMPD goes on strike

More than 3 500 metro police officers are going on strike. File picture: Nhlanhla Phillips

More than 3 500 metro police officers are going on strike. File picture: Nhlanhla Phillips

Published Jan 4, 2016



Johannesburg - Motorists returning to work on Monday were due for major disruptions as the Joburg metro police department’s 3 600 officers go on strike.

Joburg traffic officers belonging to the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) said they would be off the roads from on Monday until their grievances are addressed.

The union got permission from the Labour Court on December 28 to strike.

The licensing department and testing stations, which were on strike for almost a month in December, will not be affected as the City of Joburg obtained an interdict on December 29 forcing employees to return to work.

Most officers remained on duty throughout the festive season. But JMPD Samwu chairman Archie Ntaba said the action would start properly this morning.

“Traffic officers, who have the most serious grievances, will be on strike unless management calls us in to negotiate,” he said.

Issues leading to the protest action include discrepancies in employee salaries and unfair allowances for overtime, holidays and night shifts, some of which date back 15 to 20 years, Ntaba said.

“We are hoping management will take the initiative to call us in this morning to make peace and to stop our labour action.

“Our members have been patiently waiting for years for positive solutions. The JMPD management has failed to address these legacies and hence the desperate outcries by employees,” he said.

Samwu’s Joburg region initially issued a strike notice on December 14, but the city issued an interdict to prevent this.

However, on December 28, the court granted the union permission to strike.

JMPD spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said although permission to strike had been granted on that date, no strike action had taken place over the New Year week.

He added that every single employee had reported for duty as normal, except for those on sick or maternity leave, or on ordinary leave.

There had been numerous successful arrests throughout the city until yesterday, with a full complement of officers on duty.

“Management has thanked everyone for not heeding the call by unscrupulous people for the strike and work stoppage. We have an open-door policy and are ready to negotiate any grievances they may have,” he said.

DA spokesman on public safety Michael Sun called on the city and the unions to reach an agreement to prevent further inconvenience to residents.

“It is ultimately the residents who suffer. They lived through a month-long strike at the licensing department not being able to renew licences for their holiday trips.

“They were also badly inconvenienced by the Pikitup strike. It is always the residents who bear the brunt of these strikes, so we are calling on the two parties to urgently reach a compromise,” he said.

Besides the licensing department strike in October, Pikitup workers embarked on a two-week violent protest action which saw some of the city's streets strewn with litter.

Minnaar noted that in joint operations with the SAPS and the Emergency Management Services, nine people had been arrested in Hillbrow alone on New Year’s Eve.

While two liquor outlets were closed down, 572 drunk drivers were caught in total throughout the city and 152 apprehended for speeding.

The record arrest for speeding was a motorist caught on the N1 in Midrand for travelling at 249km/h.

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