The South African Federation of Trade Unions – SAFTU has noted that a new union called the South African Police and Allied Workers Union (SAPAWU) has been established apparently to champion the course of frustrated and angry police following yet another sweetheart agreement signed by Police management and POPCRU.
Some in the union have made a claim that the union is affiliated to SAFTU. This is not true. We however would like to meet the leadership of this union soonest to discuss issues of common interest.
Our advise to the leadership of SAPAWU and all other workers in the public service, is not form a new union when they feel betrayed by any of the sweetheart unions in the public service. We call on all police officials to join and strengthen the South African Police Union – SAPU.
SAPU refused to sign Resolution 3 of 2018 signed between POPCRU and management in December 2018. The agreement is one of the worse examples of sweetheart unionism. The agreement turns the universal slogan of the working class ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’ upside down.
The agreement on Special Task Force, National Intervention Unit, TRT and PSS discriminates against the rest of the hard working members of the South Police Services in that it guarantees all the newly recruited members of these units an entry at the Warrant Office level.
Yet as pointed out by SAPU and now the new union SAPAWU, there are thousands of SAPS members who are trapped at the constable level for up to 10 years or even more. To add sault to injury, other units such as the Dog Unit and Explosives Unit are not catered for in this discriminatory agreement. In short, all the units are equally important in the police, it does not matter if you are at the CSC, detectives or whichever unit. Members need to be equally considered for promotions.
Instead of signing discriminatory agreements, management must accept that constables earn far too little. SAFTU calls for the scraping of that level of salary so that all workers can start at the level of the warrant officer.
There is a general problem of collapsed internal HR processes that keeps police officials in the same ranks for donkey years without any consideration of a promotion.
All these factors play a key role in demoralising police. The morale in the entire police service is dangerously low. The last defence line of South Africans which is what police are, is demotivated hence the shocking number of cases of police taking their own lives including their loved ones. Management has done very little to provide support through counselling and career support and improved training.
SAFTU calls on the Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele to immediately withdraw the agreement management signed with POPCRU at the SSSBC. A new agreement that will comprehensively address the crisis of lack of promotions must be renegotiated involving all the stakeholders in the police.
Lastly to the frustrated members of POPCRU, we say they must not help further fragment and undermine the unity of the police officials by creating new unions who must also face the same frustration of tedious registration process and recruiting to meet the 30 000 threshold to form part of the SSSBC. Instead they must meet join SAFTU through SAPU and if they believe they need the ear of the SAFTU leadership to address whatever weaknesses, out doors are open.