The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] convened a South African Revenue Services [SARS] national meeting on Friday, 08th July 2022, to solicit views and pave a way forward on the wage negotiations impasse after the union had rejected the revised offer that was tabled by SARS.
The union had embarked on a strike on the 25th and 26th May 2022 and the intransigent Commissioner of SARS decided to mislead workers by paying them the performance bonuses that were due to them as if it was a new offer of the employer. SARS remained at their initial offer of 1.39% despite the fact that worker surpassed the projected revenue that was to be collected for the period 2021/2022.
As NEHAWU, we have tried to engage the institution since May 2022 and they remained stubborn with the 1.39% that is way below the inflation rate of 5.9 percent currently. SARS rejected the tabled demands of our members which include the following:
• Salaries be adjusted using October 2021 CPI of 5% + 7%, across the board for employees within the Bargaining Unit.
• A Single Term agreement and implementation date of 1st April 2022
• On Medical Aid and Housing Allowance, full and equal medical aid and housing allowance for all employees.
• An introduction of Pandemic leave of 10 working days per annum.
• A R2000 gift (token of appreciation) to all employees
• Pay Progression – An annual adjustment upwards on the applicable pay band of 1.5% where the employee has met the required performance standard.
On the 03rd June 2022, a meeting was convened with SARS to push the employer on improving its offer, however that meeting did not yield any positive results. Instead, SARS made it categorically clear that the position tabled to NEHAWU on the 29th May 2022, has not changed and remains final.
The national union has since then been consulting its members through convening membership meetings, shopsteward councils in all workplaces of SARS which culminated to the national meeting held on Friday 08th July 2022 for a mandate on the way forward.
The national meeting upon receiving detailed and comprehensive reports, robustly deliberated and agreed on the following way forward with regards to the SARS wage negotiations impasse:
· The union rejects the revised offer of 1.39%.
· The national union will mobilise for a re-commencement of the full-blown strike across all SARS workplaces to take the fight to the intransigent employer.
· We intensify the strike action.
· The strike action will re-commence on the 12th July 2022.
SARS has left us with no option other than to mobilise our mass power and take our battle to the streets. This is the only power that we have as workers in fighting unfair conditions of work. We have been negotiating in good faith and with much patience. SARS has stalled and negotiated in bad faith. It is for these reasons that as NEHAWU, we cannot delay the struggle to better the working conditions of our members and workers in general.
As NEHAWU, we shall do everything in our power to fight for these reasonable and achievable demands and rights of our members and workers at SARS.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Lwazi Nkolonzi (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 081 558 2335 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org