The culture of strike action in South Africa continues and this time, it is the Tshwane Metro Police who have decided to take a stand. For the past 7 years, the police in Tshwane have been working a twelve hour shift. Management felt that these long hours were not conducive to an effective and alert force. This led management to propose an eight hour shift that should have come into effect on 1 May 2013. Officers are protesting the new shift and they still adhere to the old schedule.
Members of the Tshwane Metro Police force are not necessarily against the idea of a shorter working day; it is the lower salary that comes with fewer hours that they find upsetting. According to SABC News, this is the reason that some of the officers decided to stop working since Monday. Others simply show up to work at times prescribed by the old roster. This Friday, the strike was still in full swing.
South Africa is known around the world for its regular strikes and protest marches, many of which become violent. The Marikana tragedy is a recent strike that went horribly wrong. An inquiry is still active to establish what exactly led to the death of so many people at the hands of the South African police. The world reacted with shock at scenes that resembled those from a war movie on 16 August 2012. The police opened fire at striking miners who waved sticks and other items that may be used as weapons.
The spokesperson for the Tswane Metro Police, Isaac Mahamba, pleaded with officers to resume their duties immediately. “We see that some of our members are gathering out there with full uniform”, he said. He urged officers to rather adhere to procedures that are put in place to object to the decision by management instead of engaging in illegal strike action. As things stand, the officers have not submitted to this call to return to work and adhere to the new shift roster.