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Sars, staff to square off at the Labour Court over travel allowance

SA Revenue Service employees are set to square off with the institution at the Labour Court over their travel allowance. Picture: Leon Nicholas/ African News Agency (ANA)

SA Revenue Service employees are set to square off with the institution at the Labour Court over their travel allowance. Picture: Leon Nicholas/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 27, 2022

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Johannesburg - The SA Revenue Service’s (Sars’) employees are heading to the Labour Court to challenge its decision to cancel their travel allowance.

This follows the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration’s (CCMA’s) decision to dismiss the Public Servants Association’s (PSA’s) bid to overturn the move.

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According to the union, it had instructed its attorney to start drafting the notice of motion to review the award at the Labour Court.

“Such a review at the Labour Court does, however, take some time and members are requested to exercise patience,” it warned its members.

The PSA referred the matter to the CCMA in December, but the commission ruled against it.

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”The PSA and its legal team studied the award and are of the opinion that the PSA has strong prospects of success to review the arbitration award through the Labour Court,” the union noted.

The union approached the CCMA after Cosatu affiliate, the National Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), launched an application declaring a dispute with Sars over the leave encashment.

This was after Sars failed to implement the final leg of the three-year wage agreement last year. The matter is still in court.

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The PSA wants the North Gauteng High Court to declare the wage deal valid, but Sars filed a counter-application, alleging that the three-year, multi-term agreement was unlawful.

This part of the dispute is not yet ready to be set down by the high court, but the counter-application must be heard together with the PSA’s main application to enforce the agreement, according to the union.

The PSA declined to approach the CCMA for the salary dispute because it lacked the jurisdiction to hear such a case, and said the only option was to enforce the collective agreement through the courts.

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It also warned that such an enforcement dispute took longer than a CCMA arbitration, but that its move was the correct one to deal with the dispute and would ultimately be the quickest way to resolved it.

The dispute relates to Sars’ failure to pay unused leave to qualifying employees, and its indication that it did not intend to continue with this practice, forcing the union to declare a dispute.

Sars staff are demanding the implementation of the agreement to increase their salaries by 6.2%, which was due to be effected in April last year.

In addition, the PSA and Nehawu have tabled demands for 2022/23, and their starting point for the 2022 wage negotiations will be the latest published consumer price index (CPI) plus 7%, which must be implemented on April 1 next year across the board on guaranteed total package for all employees within the institution’s bargaining unit.

Sars has told its employees that it is unable to implement salary adjustments as it did not have the necessary funds to do so.

The entity is also offering its staff a R1 500 once-off leave encashment payment, which would leave staff out of pocket by between R35 000 and R180 000, depending on years of service left before retirement age and the number of leave days to be sold.

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