The POPCRU union has threatened mass riots if their demands for higher wages are not met. The union says it will march to union buildings and the Department of Finance in Pretoria on September 20 to demand a pay rise.

The workers are demanding a 10% bonus, while the government is offering 2%, including a 1,000 rand grant, which they have rejected. Luk briefed the media on Sunday in Johannesburg.

A strike is looming in the nation’s criminal justice cluster that could lead to disaster if left unchecked. POPCRU says it will not back down until the government pays the workers what they deserve.

The union, which represents 150,000 SAPS, corrections and road services members, says it is unhappy with what the government is proposing.

Video: Popcru members set to march on SAPS headquarters over trainees’ conditions: Richard Mamabola

General Secretary Geoff Dladla says: “The NEC has decided that in defense of our hard-won gains, our members of the Criminal Justice Cluster will begin a march to the union buildings directly to the Commander-in-Chief, President Cyril Ramaphosa, to demand that civil servants be paid what they are owed. Better Salary offers a base rate of at least 10% to attend to all other arrangements not implemented in the Government Servant Housing Scheme. The Treasury must reverse all austerity measures in the public service.’

The Department of Correctional Services is also said to be bleeding from a lack of resources with 39,100 postal facilities. By 2009, it had 48,000 trained correctional officers. Dladla says the fact that there are currently 39,000 positions in the department, of which 26,000 officials currently deal only with inmates, is a cause for concern.

Dladla further adds that “as of June 30, 2022, there are 26,287 officials working with prisoners and this is a cause for concern, which means more infighting and diversion from the core function of rehabilitation. That is why we have seen a lot of evidence of attacks on our friends in the country. Our members are killed by criminals every day.”

Dladla adds that they are also calling on the Department of Transport to take over traffic functions. “The special NEC reiterated its call for the nationalization of the road traffic so that they can streamline the functions of all transport societies to bring them under the transport department.”

The union also called for an urgent crime summit to address high crime rates and austerity measures. It says fewer than 100 police officers are on the ground, and a lack of resources makes fighting crime virtually impossible.

“The work we do is very important, at the same time you have to be very careful when you say they are important, even if in the way you treat them you expect them to be important. You have to understand that if they are important, you have to treat them as such, why don’t you give them what they want so that eventually we don’t have a situation where they can go out and flex their muscles. We are dealing with angry people,” said Dladla

In preparation for the march, the union says it will picket all police stations, correctional facilities and road facilities during lunchtime.

Video: POPCRU threatens mass action if pay demands not met

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