Both South Africa’s main policing and prisons unions are ready to strike from Thursday when public sector workers plan to force the state’s hand on salaries.
The South African Policing Union (SAPU) Friday said it rejected the latest 6.5% offer made by the government in the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Chamber. The Public Servants’ Association and the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union have previously said they are ready for industrial inaction.
“We can report that we have received an overwhelming response to embark on industrial action as our entire membership believes that the current offer is very far from the settlement range demanded by the unions [in the bargaining chamber], SAPU said in a statement.
“We are conscious of the fact that we are organising within the essential services environment, however, not all members are regarded as essential service workers. The fact that since 2007, we have been engaging the employer in order to conclude the Minimum Service Level Agreement in terms of Resolution 1/2007, to regulate any industrial action, the employer has been reluctant to see the finality of the process. “The … mandate is clear- Industrial Action is imminent.”
Meanwhile, the South African Press Association reports the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW) has also decided to join the looming strike – but likely only from next Monday.
Other unions throwing own the gauntlet include the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA (HOSPERSA), who is demanding an 8.6% across-the-board salary increase and an increase in the housing allowance from R500 to R1000. The Democratic Nursing Association of SA has also declared a dispute with the government.
Public sector strikes in SA tend to be violent with intimidation and vandalism. At least the last two saw the SA Military Health Service deployed to state hospitals with infantry of the SA Army for protection.