SARS declares a strike, demands higher wages

SARS declares a strike and demands 1.4% increase offer which has been rejected by Nehawu and the PSA. The workers, affiliated with the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union and the Public Servants Association are demanding an across-the-board wage increase of 7%. In Pretoria, about 400 workers and union officials gathered in Madiba Street…

SARS declares a strike and demands 1.4% increase offer which has been rejected by Nehawu and the PSA. The unions insist on a 7% increase, among other benefits.

On Wednesday, Hundreds of South African Revenue Services (SARS) workers picketed outside their offices to mark the start of a nationwide strike for higher wages and benefits.

The workers, affiliated with the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and the Public Servants Association (PSA) are demanding an across-the-board wage increase of 7%.

This comes as negotiations, which started in January, between union representatives and SARS deadlocked this week.

SARS initially insisted on no increase, while workers demanded 12%. According to Nehawu and the PSA, SARS has since offered a 1.4% increase while workers continue to demand 7%.

The unions are also demanding, among other things, 10 more days of annual leave specifically for Covid, medical aid, a housing allowance for all employees and a R2,000 “token of appreciation” payment to staff over 60.

“Like all government institutions, SARS is affected by the financial challenges facing the country, and as a result, in SARS’ funding allocation from the National Treasury, no provision was made for salary increases.” SARS said In an earlier statement

In Pretoria, about 400 workers and union officials gathered in Madiba Street before marching to the National Treasury building and the revenue service’s head office.

Nehawu’s national spokesperson, Lwazi Nkolisi, insisted that workers would not return to work until an agreement was reached with SARS.

When the large crowd reached the Treasury office, the unions refused to hand over their memorandum of demands to a junior employee who was sent out to accept it, then deputy director-general for corporate services, Stadi Mngomezulu, came out to sign the memo.

PSA spokesperson Reuben Maleka said: “It’s unfortunate that the action will cripple economic activities until the employer revises their offer to acceptable terms for consideration. We have no other option but to undertake industrial action.”

A SARS worker, who asked for her name to be withheld, said she could not adequately provide for her family on a monthly salary of R6,000 as an assistant administrator. She is a single mother of three young children.

“We hope the strike will convince our employer to give us a better wage, so we can live. This strike is long overdue. Everything is expensive nowadays, food and fuel are going up, yet we still get paid peanuts,” she said.

In Cape Town, about 80 people picketed outside the revenue service’s offices.

Aileen Mosetic, acting provincial manager for the PSA in the Western Cape, said workers are rejecting SARS’ offer of 1.4%.

“We know that there are financial difficulties, but they need to improve their offer,” said Mosetic. She said about 10,000 SARS workers nationwide are included in the wage negotiations.

During a lunchtime picket in Cape Town on Tuesday, Nehawu Western Cape provincial secretary Baxolisa Mali said that following negotiations, SARS offered to use R430-million to give workers a salary hike based on their performance.

Mali said SARS had also offered a once-off cash gratuity of R35,000 for each worker.

“It’s a lot of money for workers on a lower salary scale. But for some workers, that R35,000 will mean little, depending on their employment levels.

“If you give people money once-off, their pension still remains where it is,” said Mali.

The memo was accepted by Willie Viljoen, a regional director in the Western Cape, on behalf of SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter.

ANA NEWS WIRE Disclaimer:
The African News Agency (ANA) is a news wire service and therefore subscribes to the highest standards of journalism as it relates to accuracy, fairness and impartiality.
ANA strives to provide accurate, well sourced and reliable information across Text, Images and Video. Where errors do appear, ANA will seek to correct these timeously and transparently.
The ANA platform also contains news and information from third party sources. ANA has sought to procure reliable content from trusted news sources but cannot be held responsible for the accuracy and opinions provided by such sources on the ANA platform or linked sites.
The content provided for on the ANA News Wire platform, both through the ANA news operation and via its third party sources, are for the sole use of authorised subscribers and partners. Unauthorised access to and usage of ANA content will be subject to legal steps. ANA reserves its rights in this regard.
ANA makes every effort to ensure that the website is up and running smoothly at all times, however ANA does not take responsibility for, and will not be held liable for times when the website is temporarily unavailable due to technical issues that are beyond our control.