The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) workers are expected to report for on Thursday after reaching an agreement with their employer to give negotiations another chance.
Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu had approached the Labour Court in Johannesburg to seek an interdict against the striking workers.
However, the court struck the matter off the roll after parties agreed to re-open negotiations. Labour Court Judge Hamilton Cele made the following order before he struck the matter off the roll.
“It is ordered that the matter is removed from the roll with cost. Parties are directed to initiate negotiations within seven days. The respondents will forthwith call off the strike and its members will resume work effective from tomorrow that is the 5th of July 2018. I will therefore elicit the earnest participation of the Minister of Public Administration in consultation with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Social Development in this respect.”
It was an exciting moment for the workers. They believe this is a victory for them as they had maintained all along that their strike was legal and genuine. Workers’ union, the Public Servants Association (PSA) says Minister Shabangu’s court application to interdict the strike was a waste of time and resources.
PSA Deputy General Manager, Tahir Maepa is hoping that the resumption of talks will have a positive outcome.
“I’m just hopeful and I pray that we are not going into the negotiations and people will just be negotiating for the sake of giving effect to the court order but there is no earnestness. The court order is very clear it must be done earnestly. So that in itself it is an expectation that the three ministers who are cited would make sure that these negotiations become successful.”
Workers are demanding a 15% salary increase while Sassa is offering 7%. They also want a R2500 increase in the housing allowance.
Sassa says it respects the court order. “We think that it is very good because we really need this, this is a crucial time where we need every human resource that we have at our disposal. So it is good that our workers are going back to work so we do accept that,” says Spokesperson Kgomoco Diseko.
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