The South African Policing Union (Sapu) has threatened to close down all 10111 call centres across the country unless demands such as salary increases are met.
The threat came ahead of a planned march and go-slow arranged by Sapu for today.
The 10111 call centres – which are manned by clerks and police officials – are considered the backbone of the police, bridging a link between callers who need help and officers on the beat.
The march will see control room staff walk from Church Square in Pretoria to Police Minister Fikile Mbalula’s nearby office.
Sapu general secretary Oscar Skommere said: “All other 10111 employees in the country will be joining the call by presenting memorandums in their provinces.”
Asked if the march was considered a strike or a go-slow, he said that it was a go-slow and handing in of a memorandum.
The union warned police management yesterday that delaying tactics to stall the pay increase would backfire.
“We will lead hundreds of 10111 employees on a national march in Pretoria [today]. The SAPS management has unilaterally decided to place police officers in 10111 call centres, ” Skommere said.
He said this move was undermining collective bargaining and negotiating, which compromises service delivery efforts by taking police off the streets to man phones.
“We will give the management 14 working days from June 6 to respond positively to our demands, failing which Sapu will close down all 10111 centres,” Skommere said.
The planned march and go-slow, according to Skommere, is a result of long outstanding recommendations made to National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega.
“Every province will also be handing in a memorandum to the minister’s office,” he said.
Skommere said recommendations state that 10111 staff should be upgraded from salary level 5 to salary level 7. “Recommendations which SAPS management are refusing to implement,” he said.
Asked about call takers to answer the phones, Skommere said: “There will be skeleton staff.”
National police spokeswoman Major-General Sally de Beer said service delivery would not be hampered and that the police were still engaged in a conciliation process.
“The Gauteng march has been authorised and contingency plans are in place to ensure that there are no disruptions to our services to communities,” she said.
“This will apply countrywide – should employees consider embarking on any type of unprotected strike action.
“Only employees on a rest day or police on leave may participate in the march.”