Encouraging police officers to strike is ‘reckless’ – Public Service Association

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South Africa Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency(ANA)

The Public Service Association (PSA) on Tuesday said it was “alarmed by the irresponsible support” for police officers to embark on an “illegal strike” and warned that it was “reckless” of any trade union to back such action that was at odds with the Labour Relations Act.

Murmurs of a possible strike have been swirling around since last week and on Monday hundreds of police officers failed to report for duty. Chief among the complaints was the exclusion of senior officers from promotions.

Commenting on the matter, PSA General Manager Ivan Fredericks said: “It is reckless of any trade union to put thousands of police officers’ careers on the line by encouraging them to embark on an illegal strike on conditions of service contained in the agreements that the very same union had negotiated in the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC), which is the relevant bargaining structure.

“The PSA is currently not a party to the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC), although it does represent a substantial number of uniform personnel.”

Fredericks said trade unions admitted to SSSBC that they had ample opportunity to negotiate and ensure that such alleged illicit preferential promotions and malpractices were addressed.

“[Besides] crying over the self-negotiated agreement, the ideal avenue on the quarrel would still be to declare a dispute about the non-implementation of the signed agreements or approach the courts in these circumstances,” said Fredericks.

“The PSA is therefore calling on those current participants in the bargaining structure to refrain from also putting the country at risk and to act consistently with the applicable legislations and policies and stop calling for illegal strikes.

“The PSA urges the police authorities to intervene and resolve the alleged malpractices to ensure that the police service is not compromised and keeps the moral high to ensure that capable motivated staff in the sector improve their crime-combating commitment to the country.“

The police service is defined as an essential service under the Labour Relations Act.

Last week police Minister Bheki Cele implored members “to keep to the oath of office which binds them to give full recognition to the needs of the SAPS [SA Police Service] as [the] employer and corporate with [the] community, government, and every level, including all related role players”.

African News Agency / The Citizen