Home South African Sars workers strike as Nehawu demands 12% wage increase

Sars workers strike as Nehawu demands 12% wage increase

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The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has gone ahead with a full-blown national strike demanding wage increases from the SA Revenue Service..

National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union members picket outside the SA Revenue Service offices in Durban. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

THE NATIONAL Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has gone on a full-blown national strike demanding a wage increase from the SA Revenue Service (Sars).

Despite unions meeting with Sars on Saturday, the strike went ahead as the parties reached a deadlock.

Ayanda Zulu, KZN provincial secretary for Nehawu, said this was an indefinite strike and Sars employees would down tools until their demands were met.

“We are demanding a 12% wage increase and we will not accept the 1.3% Sars is putting on the table,” said Zulu.

Sars said the demands for an increase of CPI (consumer price index) plus 7% was simply not affordable.

“Like all government institutions, Sars is affected by the financial challenges facing the country, and as a result, in Sars’ funding allocation from National Treasury, no provision was made for salary increases. Through its own diligence in managing costs, and other initiatives, Sars is able to make some funds available towards employees,” said Sars.

Sars said these funds were from some savings from the past financial year (2021/22) as well as projected savings from the current year (2022/23).

In terms of these savings, it could offer its workers a 1.39% salary increase and a 8.63% once-off payment.

The Public Servants Association, another union which is also striking, said it wanted to consider the offer and begin with the mandating process.

However, it said the picketing would continue and should the offer be rejected by most of the workers, the strike would continue.

A Sars employee based at the Durban branch as an auditor, who wished to remain anonymous, said some of the non-monetary demands were related to the disciplinary and hiring processes.

“We are calling for a disciplinary committee because the employee relations personnel can’t play the role of player and referee. We also demand that all vacancies be advertised internally before being published publicly,” she said.

Some of the placards held by picketing employees called for safe working conditions, the implementation of outstanding settlements and the exit of current Sars commissioner, Edward Kieswetter.

The strike takes place ahead of tax return season which usually starts on July 1 each year.

PSA provincial leadership addressing striking workers in Durban. Picture:Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

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