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SARS strike declared over with NEHAWU saying it made too many concessions

Apr 3, 2019
SARS strike declared over with NEHAWU saying it made too many concessions

SARS, NEHAWU and PSA also agreed to have various other items

Port Elizabeth - The South African Revenue Service (SARS) centres are expected to return to full operation from Wednesday following an end to a strike over salaries.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) and the Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA) have agreed on a three-year multi-term agreement with an 8% increase on the guaranteed total packages of employees in the bargaining unit for this year, effective 1 April 2019.

“For the two subsequent years of the agreement, the percentage salary increase will be determined on the projected CPI plus 2%,” SARS said in a statement.

The agreement brings an end to the industrial action that took place over two days last week.

SARS strike over after agreement between NEHAWU and the employer

The agreement also involves an increase in the Long Service Awards; hourly shift allowance rate, the introduction of a new leave type of prenatal and vaccination leave and the introduction of a two-year leave cycle for family responsibility leave.

SARS, NEHAWU and PSA also agreed to have various other items deferred to be resolved under the auspices of the National Bargaining Forum.

“The parties have committed to work together to enhance productivity, improve revenue flow and increase compliance levels,” said the revenue collector.

SARS said it appreciates commitment that parties have exerted to this process, as well as the constructive manner in which the wage negotiation dispute was ultimately settled to bring back stability in the organisation.

NEHAWU to monitor implementation of agreement


In a statement, NEHAWU reiterated its position that it is "not happy with the multi-term agreement hence we still hold a strong view that a single term agreement would have been more suitable to our members under the current economic conditions".

"In this regard, we shall continue to monitor its implementation and where necessary the union shall consider all possibilities to reopen the negotiations," the union said.

"We will continue to fight for the resolution of the outstanding issues which inter-alia includes:

· Finalisation of Pay Progression policy

· affordable housing scheme for SARS employees

· Affordable medical scheme

· Grade Anomalies

· Implementation of employment equity plan and finalisation of all outstanding disputes.

"It must be noted that during negotiations, we have compromised a lot from reducing our initial demand of 15% to 11,4% while the employer barely made any concessions."

NEHAWU said that it is regrettable that the Public Service Association [PSA] signed the draft settlement agreement prematurely while negotiations were still ongoing.

"We find it unflattering that the same union that was ready to fight until the bitter end for SARS workers folded precipitately while we still believed that the employer still had an opportunity to improve the offer presented on Sunday.

"Moreover, we want to dispel the myth that there is a majority union at SARS as it is a conscious distortion of cheap and desperate attempt as the narrative by the media that if PSA signs then the agreement enjoys majority support," the union said.

"We also vehemently reject the communication by the employer circulated yesterday suggesting that negotiations happened between the employer and PSA hence the agreement was signed. We view this as bias, promoting and recruiting for the union of their choice and we don’t take kind to such actions.

"As NEHAWU, we want to applaud our members and workers for their high levels of both resilience and discipline during the strike. This strike should serve as a testament to other workers that when they are united nothing is impossible. NEHAWU shall continue to aggressively fight for better working conditions, decent wages and for workers to be treated with dignity."

–additional reporting SAnews.gov.za