SARS taken to court as union demands salary increases

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The Public Servants Association is taking SARS to the Labour Court over the implementation of a wage agreement.
The Public Servants Association is taking SARS to the Labour Court over the implementation of a wage agreement.

The Public Servants' Association (PSA), which is engaged in a wage dispute with the SA Revenue Service (SARS), says it is heading to the Labour Court to seek an order that will compel SARS to implement the last part of the three-year wage agreement between the parties. 

The wage increment in question is for the current financial year.

The union said it wants SARS to honour its end of the deal and that the lack of funds justification was not sufficient.  

"There is a three-year wage agreement in place, and they have not implemented the last leg of the wage increment. This is a collective agreement that we are seeking the court to enforce," said PSA provincial manager, Claude Naicker.

Naicker said SARS had informed the union that Treasury had not released the required funding to allow it to effect the increases.

SARS said in a statement it was an "unfortunate reality" that it was unable to pay salary increases for 2021/22, due to budget-allocation constraints.

"SARS, like other government entities, is subject to national budget allocation from National Treasury. It is a well known fact that the economy has been adversely affected, like never before, by the [Covid-19] pandemic."

Negotiations between the PSA and government representatives have also deadlocked, pushing the workers who form part of its  235 000 membership towards the brink of a strike. Unions want an inflation-related increase plus 4% - which makes up 7% in total.

Government, on the other hand, is offering a 0% increase on cost-of-living adjustment, pleading budgetary constraints. The PSA has, however, blamed government's financial woes on fraud, corruption, mismanagement, and wasteful expenditure.

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