SARS admits ongoing workers’ strike has created significant disruptions

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The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has conceded that its workers’ ongoing strike has caused serious disruptions to its operations. Workers are demanding a 12% wage increase, while the employer is offering 1.3%.

On Wednesday,  SARS announced that the Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA) and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) members had embarked on strike action, after giving management notice.

The SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter has denied the unions’ allegations that there is a stalemate because management is refusing to budge.

“SARS is unable for the fact that sars does not allocate its own funding, it receives funding from Treasury where we’ve been totally transparent with union leaders, including the national leadership of both unions. In terms of our funding constraints and we’ve been totally transparent with how much money we have available towards once-off gratuity payments for the performance last year, plus what we have to allocate towards salary increases. So there’s no new or no different story for anyone to suggest therefore that we are being unresponsive it’s mischievous.”

Kieswetter says he is disappointed at the union’s decision to go back on strike at SARS.

Revised offer

Nehawu spokesperson, Lwazi Nkolonzi says workers will remain on strike until a revised offer is on the table.

“The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union has recommenced strike action at Sars as of today the 12th of July. This comes after our members had rejected the revised offer tabled by SARS of 1.3 and 9%, and our members had mandated the union at its national meeting that we had convened, that we should embark on strike action and recommence the strike action because Sars has failed to come to the table by offering them something substantial and worth considering. So the strike is beginning today on the 12th of July and it will commence up until SARS offers something concrete that our members could accept.”

The industrial action has left many taxpayers visiting SARS offices frustrated and disappointed.

“Because today I took a day off from work, so I don’t know when I’m going get another day off so it’s very stressful. I feel like we’re making a habit of losing money as a country like this is not productive.”

South Africa’s revenue collector says it only has R70 million for baseline increases for bargaining unit employees.

In a statement, Sars said it does not decide on its own funding and is dependent on an annual allocation made through a process managed by National Treasury.

VIDEO: Several SARS branches closed as PSA and Nehawu embark on strike:

-Additional reporting by Nothando Magudulela.