Nehawu ‘unhappy’ with Sars deal but will sign agreement

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says though it is not happy with the multi-term agreement offered to workers by the South African Revenue Service (Sars), it will sign the agreement.

The union said after extensive consultations, the majority of its provinces had given it the mandate to sign the agreement in a bid “to solicit unity” instead of dividing workers, as is the case now.

READ MORE: Sars staff to down tools as wage talks collapse

In a statement released on Monday, the union said it is “regrettable” that the Public Service Association [PSA] had signed a draft settlement agreement, calling the action “premature” as negotiations are still ongoing.

“We find it unflattering that the same union that was ready to fight until the bitter end for Sars workers folded precipitately while we still believed that the employer still had an opportunity to improve the offer presented on Sunday. Moreover, we want to dispel the myth that there is a majority union at Sars as it is a conscious distortion [and] cheap and desperate attempt [at a] narrative by the media that if PSA signs then the agreement enjoys majority support,” the Nehawu statement reads.

On Monday, the PSA announced that it had reached an agreement with Sars to end its strike at the tax authority.

According to a statement released on Monday afternoon by the PSA, the revenue collection agency agreed to an 8% salary increase from April and a projected increase of the consumer price index plus 2% in the following two years. PSA general manager Ivan Fredericks said the multi-term agreement included an increase in the long-service award amount, and the introduction of eight days’ prenatal and vaccination leave.

“Sars can under current circumstances ill-afford to be operating under capacity, as the country struggles to collect revenue, while [teetering] on the brink of possible credit-rate cuts.

The PSA is pleased that Sars, by reaching this agreement, acknowledges the importance of the work being rendered by its employees,” Fredericks said.

READ MORE: Sars crippled by Moyane loyalists

The PSA, along with Nehawu, collectively represents some under 10 000 of the tax agency’s 12 000-strong workforce. The PSA represents around 5 300 workers, while Nehawu represents some 4 400 workers.

The industrial action, which began on March 28 after the collapse of lengthy wage negotiations, was the first time in over a decade that the revenue agency experienced strike action. Nehawu’s initial demand of 15% was not successful, and was reduced to 11.4% despite Sars barely making any concessions, the union said.

On Monday, Sars reported revenue shortfalls for the 2018/19 year had reached R57.4-billion. This is an increase of R14.6-billion, on the existing shortfalls forecast in the February 2019 budget, which was expected to hit R42.8-billion.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Kiri Rupiah
Kiri Rupiah is the online editor at the Mail & Guardian.

Related stories

Sars expects to collect less revenue for the year

The revenue service is expecting another year of tax undercollection thanks to weak economic growth and strained consumers.

Tough work ahead to fix the economy

Sars is expected to miss its collection target for 2020-2021. And weak growth isn’t helping

Mboweni weaponises ‘mini-budget’

SA’s economic prospects have declined rapidly since Feburary, with Eskom being one of the biggest drains. It’s time for some difficult choices

LIVESTREAM: Mboweni presents the medium-term budget policy statement

Mboweni's medium-term budget policy statement will likely make crisis management a focal point

Agriculture department denies Dlamini poison claims

Deputy Agriculture Minister Sdumo Dlamini was admitted to hospital with a severe headache, says the ministry

Koloane and the Waterkloof landing: So what if you help the Guptas?

Someone please call the police, the Hawks, the NPA… everyone

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

It’s not a ‘second wave’: Covid resurges because safety measures...

A simple model shows how complacency in South Africa will cause the number of infections to go on an upward trend again

Trouble brewing for Kenya’s coffee growers

Kenyan farmers say theft of their crop is endemic – and they suspect collusion

Unisa shortlists two candidates for the vice-chancellor job

The outgoing vice-chancellor’s term has been extended to April to allow for a smooth hand-over

How US foreign policy under Donald Trump has affected Africa

Lesotho has been used as a microcosm in this article to reflect how the foreign policy has affected Africa

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday