If the office of Police Minister Fikile Mbalula does not give a positive response to the 10111 emergency call centre workers who are marching to his office this morning, a national shutdown is set to take place.
This is according to South African Police Union general secretary Oscar Skommere, who told City Press that the plight of the workers has been going on for too long.
“We will give them 14 days for a favourable response, and if they do not give a positive response, there will be a national shutdown because 10111 workers are all over the country,” Skommere said.
The call centre agents act as the first port of call during an emergency situation for people seeking help or assistance from the police.
The workers, who are marching from Pretoria’s Church Square this morning, along with members of the South African Federation of Trade Unions and other union members, will be handing over a memorandum to Mbalula’s office in Tshwane, demanding that their salary levels be increased as per the recommendations of a report that was put in place by suspended national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega in 2013.
The task team, which was put together by Phiyega, benchmarked the 10111 workers’ salaries against other call centres in the country including home affairs, the South Africa Social Security Agency, the South African Revenue Service, crime stop and the presidential hotline call centres.
“The task team recommended on the report that the salary level at 10111 should be upgraded to salary level seven (about R226 211 a year), which was also approved by the provincial management, which includes the provincial commissioner. The provincial commissioner then sent the benchmarking report to the [former] acting national commissioner General [Khomotso] Phahlane for approval,” the federation’s acting spokesperson Patrick Craven said.
A job evaluation was performed on the 10111 call centre agents by the organisational development team, and the recommendation was in line with a level-seven salary upgrade.
“Members of Gauteng 10111 were denied access to the report because it was declared a classified document,” Craven said.
Instead of instituting the salary upgrades SAPS, as the employer, decide to convert the posts of 10111 workers from the Public Service Act to the SAPS Act.
“They were told that they now had to reapply for these posts, but it also meant that they would be downgraded to a level five salary of about R159 000 a year,” Skommere said.
“This has resulted in the march today, and if needs be there will be a national shutdown of the 10111 call centre,” Skommere said.