Saftu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi
Photo by: Duane Daws
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) on Tuesday, blasted the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi for calling it ”a sweetheart union” that has no regard for workers’ interests.
Spokesperson Richard Mamabolo accused Vavi, a former secretary general of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, of continuing with ”his long standing fight against Popcru”.
“These malicious claims are clearly aimed at misleading the public and setting off workers against us, but most extensively, to blindly lead workers into believing Sapu as their only hope in resolving the concerns raised,” said Mamabolo.
Sapu is a Saftu affiliate while Popcru is affiliated to Cosatu.
The public spat between the two rival unions came after Sapu members stood their ground last week when the South African Police Service (Saps) management instructed them to return to work by Friday or face disciplinary charges because the 10111 crime call centre strike was illegal.
This followed the agreement that the Saps said it had signed with majority union Popcru at the industry’s Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) in August. Sapu said it would not sign the agreement as it did not address their demands. It further threatened to take the Saps to court.
The union said this week that it would intensify its strike and march to the seat of government, the Union Buildings in Pretoria on October 16.
The Saps said it has begun laying disciplinary charges against those that continued with the strike and did heed the call to return to work.
Mamabolo said his union was at the fore front of fighting for workers’ rights and that the agreement Popcru signed addressed staff demands.
“As things stand, those striking members are without salaries and some are facing disciplinary action. It is unfortunate that Saftu and Sapu’s renewed call to strike will exacerbate the situation for the members on strike,” he said.
“We call upon our members to resist falling prey to egocentric calls which are not in the interest of members.”