Fri. Oct 18th, 2019

Edward Kieswetter on the verge of resolving Sars wage dispute

edward kieswetter sars commissionerOne side of the unions is content with the offer, but the other needs more time.

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It looks like the incoming Sars commissioner, Edward Kieswetter, is on the verge of securing his first wage dispute victory.

The new revenue collector boss, together with his team, met with labour unions, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) and the Public Servants Association (PSA), to discuss a way forward after a deadlock in negotiations.

Sars wage dispute: The workers’ demand

The unions, who represent a sizable portion of the Sars workforce, have remained clear on the fact that they want to deliver an 11.4% across-the-board wage increase to their members.

ReadSars strike: SAPS swiftly deal with attempts to disrupt border posts

Nehawu pointed at Sars’ reluctance to come forth at the negotiation table as the reason why an estimated 10 000 workers have not reported in for duty at the revenue collector’s posts since Friday, 29 March.

At the meeting, on Sunday, the revenue collector was expected to boost its initial offer of 7% (with CPI boosts for low-tier outstanding workers) to a favourable standing.

Revenu collector’s adjusted offer

Sure enough, as reported by Times Live, Kieswetter’s team put forth an adjusted offer which includes:

  • an 8% salary increase from Monday, 1 April;
  • a projected CPI plus 2% salary increase from 1 April 2020 and 2021 respectively;
  • eight days of prenatal and vaccination leave; and
  • five days of family responsibility leave every two years

The unions, in response, noted that they would consider this offer and liaise with their members before responding to it.

“Members should also note that the current strike action is suspended until the mandate process on the revised offer from the employer has been considered and concluded.

“Should members vote to reject the revised offer from the employer, this will lead to further strike action until the employer revises the offer or parties agree to a settlement agreement,” Ivan Fredericks, PSA’s general manager, noted in a statement.

Nehawu remained tightlipped about their reaction to the adjusted offer. It noted, however, that members were generally not happy with the adjusted offer.

ReadSARS strike continues, unions challenge Edward Kieswetter

“Nobody wins under a strike” – Edward Kieswetter

For Kieswetter, this a step toward a much-needed resolution.

“No one wins under a strike. Neither the organisation nor the staff wins under the strike. But when the staff eventually reach the point where they withhold their labour, it is endemic of a culture that needs to be addressed,” the new Sars boss said in an interview with SABC.

Sars, anticipating a response to their adjusted offer, noted that a solution was “imminent”.

Read“Your tax holiday is over” – says Edward Kieswetter on Sars renewal

“The parties have made substantial progress in narrowing their areas of dispute and there is a possibility of reaching an agreement and settling the dispute.

“In this regard, organised labour will take the proposals to their members on Monday morning and will revert to the employer by 9am on Monday April 1,” the revenue collector noted.

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