The SARS building in Randburg. Picture: TYRONE ARTHUR
The SARS building in Randburg. Picture: TYRONE ARTHUR

Sars says a settlement agreement between the tax agency and its two recognised unions is imminent as the strike enters its third day.

This followed a weekend of negotiations between the unions and Sars that included meetings on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon in a bid to resolve the impasse.

Sars said on Sunday evening  that “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”.

Sars employees, represented by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) and the Public Servants Association (PSA) downed tools for the first time in a decade after wage and benefit negotiations deadlocked.

Nehawu said on Sunday it will continue striking on Monday, while it was not clear whether the PSA will continue with strike action. The unions collectively represent almost 10,000 workers at the Sars bargaining council. 

The main sticking point is significant issue in the deadlock relates tothe term for which the wage increases are negotiated. Unions are pushing for a single-term increase to allow for new negotiations in 2020, while Sars’s offer last week for an 8% increase in a multiterm agreement was rejected.

The unions demanded, among other benefits, an 11.4% increase for a one-year term, but would be willing to take an 8% offer for that term to members.

It was not yet known what offer the unions will wouldbe taking to their members, and whether they have caved in on a multiterm offer or stuck to the single-term demand.

Sars said the unions will take the proposals to their members on Monday morning, and will revert back to the agency by 9am.