Sars faces unexpected strike action

THE South African Revenue Service faces strike action today just as the tax filing season hits its peak.

THE South African Revenue Service faces strike action today just as the tax filing season hits its peak.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and the Public Servants Association (PSA) have declared a dispute with the revenue collector.

Sars is responsible for tax collection, customs duties at border posts and duty imports and exports at ports and airports.

Nehawu has made an about-turn and said it would now join the PSA in their planned strike - after it announced on Saturday that it would not strike.

"Officially we are on strike. We are communicating with our members that they should not work today [Monday] when they get to their workplaces," said spokesperson Sizwe Pamla.

Pamla said the union was now "engaging" with the employer over the revised offer at the bargaining forum.

PSA spokesperson Manie de Clercq said: "Sars seems to have no appreciation for the critical role its employees fulfill in the current economic climate.

"The strike will dramatically impact on the gathering of income for the state and even on international trade, as customs officers will form an integral part of the imminent action."

Sars had offered a 7percent salary increases, while unions demanded 13percent across the board. The employer then made a revised offer of between 9 and 11percent.

Sars spokesperson Siba Mfabe said "measures were in place" in case of a strike to ensure individuals file returns.

Asked about any contingency plans for custom officials at border posts, Mfabe said he "could not confirm that".

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