Saftu and Sapu leadership at a media briefing held by the policing union. Picture: Khanyisile Ngcobo.

Johannesburg - The South African Policing Union (SAPU) on Monday vowed to continue fighting until its demands for equal pay for equal value are met.

Last week, the South African Police Service's (SAPS) top management directed the striking call centre staff to return to work or face disciplinary charges after their strike was declared illegal. 

This after the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) signed a binding agreement with the employer at the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) earlier in September, rendering the strike unprotected. 

Popcru is the majority union at the SAPS. 

Sapu then called a media briefing to respond to the announcement, slamming SAPS for its intimidation tactics against striking workers.

Sapu general secretary Oscar Skommere also lashed out at SAPS management for failing to address workers' demands.

"Instead of addressing the demands of 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.

"Management found a sleeping partner in the form of a captured Popcru. These two have since signed an agreement on August 4 that forces workers to be declared essential services... while not addressing any of the issues that led to the strike."

He also lashed out at Deputy National Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Bonang Mgwenya for threatening striking workers with disciplinary action. 

He vowed that Sapu would not hesitate to defend its members against such threats. 

"We have noted the intimidating tactics by Lieutenant-General Mgwenya... and have decided to interdict SAPS against such acts of intimidation," he said. 

Sapu confirmed that it would also stage a march to the Union Buildings on October 16, saying that since SAPS's top brass refused to listen, they'd take their issues to the president's office. 

Also present at the briefing was the SA Federation of Trade Unions's (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, who said government's failure to address striking workers' demands showed how little black people's issues mattered to them. 

"The only time black people matter to the government is at election time, when they need votes," he said.