DURBAN - Striking 10111 call centre workers burned tyres and blocked off the entrance to the Durban Central SAPS and the Magistrate’s Court on Friday as part of their ongoing strike action for improved wages.
The members who have been on strike for three weeks had been undertaking peaceful action until Friday's fiery events. They said they caused mayhem for the first time today because they were not being noticed and nobody has bothered to address their concerns.
The entrance has since been cleared.
The members are calling for an increase from level five to level seven salaries, which is around the region of R225 000 per annum. A spokesman for the members, Jonathan Blaine, who has worked at the 10111 call centre for the last 10 years, said they were being overlooked and there was no room for progression at their unit.
“We are tired of being stuck in the same place for years yet people know that we are one of the busiest call centres around. A report was done based on the work we do and surveys have shown that we are being underpaid,” said Blaine.
He said that although police were denying that the strike action was not affecting operations, it was a lie because members of the Flying Squad were being roped into performing call centre duties, causing a disruption to fighting crime on the ground.
* This story will be updated with police comment shortly.
UPDATE - National SAPS spokeswoman, Brigadier Sally De Beer, said that an interdict was granted on Friday in the Labour Court of South Africa against the 10111 striking workers across the country, to prevent them from being disruptive and causing any damage during their protests.
"This is a national interdict and applies across the country. We have 22 call centres and the disruptions have been minimal thus far," said De Beer.
She said the ongoing strike was not really affecting SAPS operations as not everyone had chosen to strike.
"Some centres aren't affected at all and work is continuing as per usual. Service delivery on the ground still continues and there is minimal disruption to service delivery within our communities. We had to go to court to take action today after the incidents in Durban and also the protest action in Midrand during the course of the week," said De Beer.