SANParks workers plan to down tools

This follows a negotiation deadlock between SANParks and the union over salary increases.

SANParks Chief Executive Officer Fundisile Mketeni said the country’s conservation and tourism leader has not received a formal notice of the imminent strike from HOSPERSA, in terms of the Labour Relations Act.

“On [Tuesday] 11 July 2017, SANParks met with all recognised unions and HOSPERSA requested that strike and picketing rules be developed. Management agreed and undertook to do so and meet with the said union in the coming week,” Mketeni said.

Mketeni said the news of the strike came as a surprise because the meeting has not yet taken place.

“Should the union continue with its threats, employees who decide to embark on strike action will not be allowed to picket on SANParks’ premises without an agreement or permission.

“In an effort to resolve the impasse, we further urge the union to accept management’s offer of 6% plus 1% pay progress, which totals to a 7% adjustment since negotiations were concluded,” he said.

In its statement, HOSPERSA insinuated that a profit amounting to R1.29 billion was realised in the last financial year, therefore a 9% salary increase in their view is warranted.

“We would like to put it on record that the union should take cognisance of the operational overheads which include staff remunerations, conservation operations and tourism plant maintenance amongst many of SANParks’ financial commitments,” Mketeni said.

Mketeni said HOSPERSA’s offer provides a solution which is above the current CPI.

“You will note that the CPI for April and May was at 5.3% and 5.4% respectively. Hence, the 6% plus 1% pay progression is reasonable,” he said.

Despite HOSPERSA’s pronouncement that all operations will be disrupted at various parks, SANParks reassured members of the public that in the event of strike, contingency plans will be activated to ensure that service is not interrupted and visitors are safe.

“We hope that sanity will prevail and our employees will not heed the HOSPERSA call,” Mketeni said.

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