“PSA unlikely to move from wage demands in SITA strike”

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The Public Servants Association (PSA) Acting Assistant General Manager, Claude Naicker, says the union is unlikely to move from its wage demands.

Members of the association which represents staff at the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) have embarked on a strike after wage talks were deadlocked.

The government IT workers are demanding a 7.5% salary increase while the employer is offering 5%.

SITA is the government ICT service provider at Home Affairs, South African Social Security Agency and the South African Police Service offices, amongst others.

Naicker says the PSA will continue with the strike action until Friday when it will reassess how to proceed.

“This morning, we have received communication from the employer that they intend implementing the offer unilaterally, the 5% that’s on the table and this has infuriated members to say listen, but can’t you actually come to the party and try and see if you can make amends, but I don’t think the employer has done sufficiently in this regard. As I said, this has angered the members and this morning our structures have decided that they will press on with the industrial action.”

Workers at the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) have threatened to march to the office of the Communications Minister as part of their efforts to intensify the nationwide strike action at the government’s ICT Company.

In the video below, workers accuse the employer of negotiating in bad faith: 

“Demands unsustainable” 

SITA Spokesperson Tlali Tlali says what the workers are demanding is neither affordable nor sustainable.

He says they are open to more discussions.

“If it is an option available to all parties, we could look at options such as the multi-year agreements where we can structure this agreement in such a manner that it is able to accommodate some of the demands, the implementation of which will be progressively accommodated over time. Those are the options we are willing to look at. We should have a broader view of the situation and not limit things to what is the demand here and now,” adds Tlali.

VIDEO | “SITA has exercised flexibility during negotiations”

Strike impact 

Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Deputy Minister of Communications and Technologies, Tsholofelo Bodlani, has raised concerns about the negative impact of the strike.

Bodlani says the disruption in SITA operations means that the public cannot receive essential government services.

“Home Affairs will be affected, SASSA services will be affected, even South African Police Services might be affected. And those are really some essential services that cannot afford to go without SITA services. So that is a great concern, especially on the back foot SASSA recipients who last month had to go without receiving their benefits and we can’t keep doing this to the poorest of the poor as a country.”