‘Strike as long as you like, no new wage offer until we get money from Treasury’

Date:

‘Strike as long as you like, no new wage offer until we get money from Treasury’

 FILE: South African Revenue Service (Sars) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter. Picture: @sarstax/Twitter.

| ‘The impact of the strike on service delivery will be minimal.’ Bruce Whitfield interviews Sars Commissioner Edward Kieswetter.

  • SARS
  • The Money Show
  • Bruce Whitfield
  • Nehawu
  • Strike
  • South African Revenue Service
  • Edward Kieswetter
  • Wage dispute
  • PSA
  • WAGE OFFER

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) is dealing with strike action for the second time this year.

After wage negotiations deadlocked, and as the July tax season started, the Public Servants Association (PSA) and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) embarked on a strike.

In a nutshell, the unions want a salary increase of of CPI (5%) + 7%, across the board.

Sars returned with a counter-offer of 1.3% after the first strike action in May.

RELATED: Nehawu: SARS’ 1.3% wage offer is an insult

Bruce Whitfield interviews the Commissioner of Sars, Edward Kieswetter.

Before even asking whether the unions’ demands are reasonable or whether the country can afford them, it must be remembered that it’s not the revenue service that allocates its own budget says Kieswetter.

The central point that I have to register (because there’s miscommunication about it) is that Sars does not decide its budget!

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner – Sars

Sars gets allocated funding from National Treasury and therefore, quite frankly, our unions can stay out as long as they want to – Sars is not able to put another offer on the table until and unless we get money from National Treasury.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner – Sars

If the wage increase demands were reasonable would the Commissioner go to bat for the unions? Whitfield asks.

Kieswetter responds that he engages with his colleagues at Treasury and also the Minister “all the time”.

It’s on public record – in my last Parliamentary appearance – that Sars is significantly underfunded. Whether we need the extra money for salary increases is another matter.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner – Sars

It would be irresponsible of me to negotiate outside of the bounds of what I am allocated.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner – Sars

Kieswetter emphasizes that he has been “more than transparent” with the unions and shown them the breakdown of the Sars budget allocation.

None of the [relevant] unions can argue that they don’t understand the funding allocation, the constraints that I have…

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner – Sars

On Wednesday just over 65% of Sars employees were at work out of 12 800 employees says Kieswetter.

“Of those two thirds about 80% are staff that would be in the taxpayer engagement area.”

Sars has given South Africa the assurance that the impact of the strike on its service delivery will be minimal.

The reason for that is, over the last two years we have worked quite hard to automate many of our processes. There are hardly any reasons for taxpayers to come into our offices to fulfil any obligation.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner – Sars

Kieswetter says the one area where they are taking strain is in fielding the huge number of phone calls received every day.

Listen to the conversation with the Sars Commissioner on The Money Show:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : ‘Strike as long as you like, no new wage offer until we get money from Treasury’

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