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Sars tables new offer in wage negotiations with unions

23 May 2022 - 13:10
Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter says there is a new wage offer on the table. File photo.
Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter says there is a new wage offer on the table. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

The SA Revenue Service (Sars) says it has put a new offer on the table in wage negotiations between itself and two labour unions. 

Initially Sars tabled a 0% wage increase, while unions demanded 7%, which Sars rejected, saying “it is simply not affordable”.

Without mentioning the new offer put to unions, Sars said through its own diligence in managing costs and other initiatives it is able to make some funds available towards bargaining with employees.

Sars said engagement between the parties on the dispute had been revived and remained constructive and positive.

“We remain confident that with this offer we can resolve the dispute and move forward to focus on serving taxpayers and executing the important mandate we serve.”

Sars said its leadership met organised labour represented by the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and the Public Servants Association of SA (PSA) to find a solution to matters where the unions declared a dispute.

The revenue service said like all government institutions, it was affected by financial challenges facing SA and its funding allocation from National Treasury did not make provision for salary increases.

Funds that would be used for salary increases would be drawn from savings from last year (2021/22) and projected savings from the current year (2022/23), which have been approved for people costs. 

“I am pleased that under difficult conditions we are able to provide some financial relief to our employees. I also remind our employees we are inordinately privileged to have employment security at a time when so many are unemployed and financially destitute,” said Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter

The revenue service said the offer was tabled on Saturday during a special national bargaining forum. Unions then engaged Sars on options to allocate available funding towards financial relief for employees, and in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

“Sars formally extended this offer to organised labour on May 22, in full and final settlement of the dispute relating to the salary increase demand of the 2022/23 substantive wage negotiations, on a without prejudice basis. The unions will engage their members to obtain a mandate, after which the parties will meet again to continue engagements,” said Sars.

It was also committed to continuing discussions on non-monetary items shared between the parties to review and improve the overall employee value proposition. This process started in the middle of last year.

Nehawu spokesperson Lwazi Nkolonzi said their members would continue with lunchtime pickets at Sars branches and could not indicate if they were considering the new offer. 

“There is nothing new on our side. We will update you if we have something. So far, things stand as they were with what the workers are demanding,” Nkolonzi said. 

PSA spokesperson Reuben Maleka said they were considering the offer and seeking further clarity on what the employer put on the table.

“The meeting is scheduled this evening to provide clarity on the offer,” Maleka said. 

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