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Sars hopeful wage strike will be averted

Sars is hopeful that a looming strike by Nehawu and the PSA can be averted.
Sars is hopeful that a looming strike by Nehawu and the PSA can be averted.
Image: istock.

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) is hopeful that a planned strike next week by the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and Public Servants Association (PSA) will be averted and that a wage agreement will be reached    

Sars said on Saturday that it had been served with a seven-day notice by the two unions to go on strike from March 28.

This follows a dispute lodged in February at the CCMA which issued a certificate of non-resolution on Tuesday.   

The current three-year wage agreement that Sars has with organised labour expires on March 31.

The CCMA Commissioner had tabled a commissioner’s proposal for settlement of an 8% increase across the board for a single term which organsed labour rejected, deciding not to move from their demand for an 11.4% increase across the board. However, after further mediation, organised labour offered a 9% increase as a settlement offer.   

But Sars, which is offering a differentiated increase of 7%, said  it was not able to accede to this and that it needed more time to consult with its principals. A meeting had thus been scheduled for Monday for the parties to try to find one another on  remaining issues.

“Sars is confident that the meetings arranged for Monday and Tuesday through the chairperson of the Sars National Bargaining Forum will yield results, and a settlement will be reached,” Sars said on Saturday.

“SARS is funded through a grant like all other government departments. Due to the shrinking revenues and growing debt levels, the 3-year Estimate of National Expenditure (ENE) by National Treasury has reined in government expenditure over the next three years. Whatever wage settlement Sars enters, it should be within the ENE framework over the next three years.

“Sars believes that the 11.4% increase demand of organised labour is out of reach in the current economic climate where CPI is sitting at 4.1% as of February 2019. Sars’ offer of 7% is 2.9 percentage points above CPI (that is, 71% above February CPI),” the tax collection agency said. .

It added: “Sars is hopeful that an agreement will be reached, and a strike will be averted.”

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