PSA and NEHAWU members protesting at the SARS offices in Durban. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - The Public Servants Association (PSA) said late on Thursday night that a strike by majority PSA affiliated members at the country's tax collector was legal and would continue.

PSA and Nehawu members employed by the South African Revenue Service (Sars) started striking early in the day at dozens of Sars branches countrywide, demanding higher salaries. 

In a media statement issued earlier on Thursday night, Sars said it had been granted an interdict against striking workers, who were only legally allowed to picket outside the Sars national headquarters and Alberton Campus. 

"The PSA as the union representing the majority of Sars employees, has questioned the need by the Sars to approach the courts for an interdict dealing with compliance with picketing rules," said PSA via an emailed statement. 

It said the union embarked on the legal strike in support of salary demands made by members. Parties agreed on picketing rules during the facilitation process by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), said the statement. 

“On Friday, March 22, 2019, the PSA advised Sars that the union had every intention to abide by the picketing rules issued by the CCMA commissioner. SARS, however, brought an urgent application to seek a court order to ensure compliance with the picketing rules. 

"The PSA maintains that it has every intention of complying with these rules. In instances where picketing has taken place in areas other than those agreed to, the PSA will take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with picketing rules. Under these circumstances, the PSA fails to understand the need for SARS to have spent taxpayers’ money to approach the courts as all demonstrations proceeded peacefully,” said PSA general manager, Ivan Fredericks.  

Claims by SARS to have successfully interdicted the strike were factually incorrect, said Fredericks, as the interdict only dealt with compliance of picketing rules. 

“Strike action will thus continue and is not affected by the failed attempt to interdict the successful strike by PSA members,” said Fredericks.

African News Agency (ANA)