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Popcru to protest for higher wages

More than 10,000 union members will march to Riah Phiyega's office to demand higher wages.

FILE: Members of Popcru march in the Joburg CBD on 30 May 2013. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Police administrative staff affiliated with the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) will march to National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega's office today to demand salary increases.

The union wants the South African Police Service (Saps) to implement a wage deal signed in 2011, or face intensified protest action that it claims could cripple the police service.

Popcru's Theto Mahlakoana says more than 10,000 union members will join the march in Pretoria.

Police say contingency plans have been put in place to ensure that the emergency helplines and other services are not affected by the mass action.

Strikes have already hit the construction, aviation and auto industries and are looming in the textiles, fuel retail and gold sectors.

Meanwhile, economists continue to warn about the ripple effects of current and looming nationwide strikes in key sectors like mining and construction.

The Rand hit a four year low on Wednesday and fell past the R10.50 cents to the US dollar level.

Nedbank Capital's Mohammed Nalla said, "foreign investor sentiment will remain quite negative and turn even more sharply negative at a time when we the country can ill afford it.

Sentiment on emerging markets is already poor. The immediate impact is a much weaker Rand exchange rate and when that happens, we actually see that filter through very quickly in terms of the prices consumers have to pay for goods."

STRIKES INCREASING ANNUALLY

Meanwhile, an expert agency on South Africa's labour relations says strike action has grown bigger and longer over the past five years and shows no sign of slowing down.

Andrew Levy head of Andrew Levy Employment, told delegates at the Mining Lekgotla in Sandton that strikes will continue to limit the country's productivity.

Levy said SA remained relatively strike free for the first 10 years after 1994, but since then labour relations have deteriorated.

"You'll see that, generally speaking, it goes down from the passage of the New Labour Relations Act, but round about 2003/2004, it begins to increase."

Levy says his agency expects more strikes this year and doesn't think the trend will slow down.

"The forecast shows a strong and steady, steep rise."

He's warned that unless labour reform is implemented, the industry's landscape won't improve and the strikes will have an even worse effect.

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