South Africa

Unions threaten to shut down SARS this week

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says it will mobilise its workers to shut down the South African Revenue Services (SARS) after wage negotiations hit an impasse.

In messages circulated on social media, Nehawu said the shutdown will commence on Tuesday (12 July) after rejecting a proposed wage increase of 1.39%.

“On 3 June 2022, a meeting was convened with SARS to push the employer on improving its offer, however that meeting did not yield any positive results. Instead, SARS made it categorically clear that the position tabled to Nahaawu on 29 May 2022, has not changed and remains final.

“The national union has since then been consulting its members through convening membership meetings, shop steward councils in all workplaces of SARS which culminated to the national meeting held on Friday 08th July 2022 for a mandate on the way forward.”

Following its meeting, Nehawu said it has resolved the following:

  • The union rejects the revised offer of 1.39%.
  • The national union will mobilise for a re-commencement of the full-blown strike across all SARS workplaces to take the fight to the intransigent employer.
  • It will intensify the strike action.
  • The strike action will re-commence on the 12 July 2022.

“SARS has left us with no option other than to mobilise our mass power and take our battle to the streets. This is the only power that we have as workers in fighting unfair conditions of work. We have been negotiating in good faith and with much patience.

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“SARS has stalled and negotiated in bad faith. It is for these reasons that as Nahwu, we cannot delay the struggle to better the working conditions of our members and workers in general.

“As Nehawu, we shall do everything in our power to fight for these reasonable and achievable demands and rights of our members and workers at SARS.”

The Public Servants Association (PSA) said that it is of the view that strike action is the only action that will force SARS to take workers seriously – likening the planned strike action to the recent strikes at Eskom, which left the power grid crippled.

“Increasing food prices, electricity tariffs, public transport and interest rates make life unaffordable for employees and the employer is not conscious of this fact. The PSA is left with no option but to continue to embark on strike action which will begin on 12 July 2022,” the PSA said.

“The irony is that political office bearers and government entities are receiving huge increases from the revenues collected by the very same SARS employees who are being offered a salary increase of 1.39%.

“Members are encouraged to consult with PSA shop stewards and Provincial Offices for details regarding the strike action. The strike can only be effective if members get out in big numbers. The ‘no-work, no-pay’ factor should not deter workers to participate in this strike as we need to make a statement – alternatively the employer will win and continue to give employees peanuts,” it said.

BusinessTech asked SARS how the tax season will be impacted by the planned industrial action but did not received a response by the time of publication.

Read: Top government and business leaders warn that South Africa is sitting on a ‘ticking time bomb’

Artmotion S.Africa

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