Further Sassa strike action 'not excluded' following salary negotiation delays

Sassa head office. (Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images)
Sassa head office. (Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images)

The Public Servants Association (PSA) has called the South African Social Security Agency's (Sassa) attempts to delay salary negotiations irresponsible and has warned that further strike action cannot be excluded.

"We are consulting with our lawyers on what to do next," Leon Gilbert, assistant general manager for collective bargaining at the PSA, said.

Gilbert said the PSA wanted to finalise negotiations in an amicable way, but that it would require Sassa to come to the table.

"The negotiations started last week. They asked for a postponement until today (Monday) and they came to the table with an unsatisfactory response," he added, saying that the social security agency had asked for another postponement until Tuesday.

"I want to add that we want to finalise this in an amicable way. It is irresponsible from the employer to the employees, and irresponsible to the community who are being served by the employees."

Earlier this month, the Labour Court ordered that Sassa's bid to halt a strike by its employees be struck off the roll with costs.

News24 reported that Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu filed an urgent court application for an interdict to halt the strike, saying that striking employees would disrupt the department's ability to administer the payment of grants.

"The confirmation that the negotiations have started in earnest must be attested by the way of affidavit filed by the applicants with the registrar of this court on or before 12 July 2019," the court ruled at the time.

Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi said the agency had responded to the demands of the PSA and indicated its point of view according to the instruction of the Labour Court.

"Sassa is serious about the resolution of the matter," he said, adding that the agency was of the view it was complying with the court order.

"Sassa has responded to the PSA, however it cannot direct to labour how it must exercise its rights."

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