Johannesburg - The SA Revenue Service (Sars) has withdrawn part of its R500 million offer to increase its employees’ salaries this year, a move that has angered one of the unions representing the taxman’s staff.
The Public Servants Association (PSA) has warned that if parties can’t find a way to break the deadlock, it will have no option but to reinstate notice and embark on further strike action.
On Friday, the PSA announced that it was currently finalising internal processes to mount a national strike to force Sars to present a reasonable salary increase offer that can be considered by its members.
The union suspended its strike that commenced on May 25 after issuing a memorandum to Sars and Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.
However, at a meeting on Wednesday, Sars withdrew the initial amount of R430m, which it offered towards a once-off payment, as well as another R70m as a salary adjustment.
Sars now maintains that only the R70m is available.
Last month, the taxman informed unions that it has received approval from the National Treasury to offer its workers R430m for a once-off payment and R70m as a salary adjustment backdated to April 1.
During negotiations, Sars indicated that the R430m offer was made with the expectation that it would resolve the dispute and expedite talks.
The PSA rejected the initial R430m offer for a once-off payment and R70m for a 1.39% salary increase.
”It must be noted that since the offer was made, South Africa experienced another petrol price increase, which will impact on food prices and public transport, thus swallowing the meagre 1.39% salary increase,” the union complained.
The PSA accused Sars of clearly not negotiating in good faith and using the R430m once-off payment as bait for employees to accept the paltry 1.39% increase.
According to the union, it gave Sars the benefit of doubt and suspended the strike to allow the taxman to consider its demands, but the entity responded with arrogance by removing what it had already offered to employees.
This week, Sars indicated that its operations were not yet back at 100% capacity.
Meanwhile, an alternative date will have to be found for the hearing of a separate salary increase dispute between the PSA and Sars at the North Gauteng High Court.
The union and Sars are embroiled in a legal battle over the taxman’s failure to fully increase its employees’ salaries by 6.2% last year as agreed in 2019.
Sars only implemented a 3.9% salary increase after lengthy discussions.
The matter had been set down for July 25, but not all the parties will be available and an alternative date is being sought.