Communications and digital technologies minister Mondli Gungubele has urged the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and the Public Servants Association (PSA) to urgently find a solution to end the strike which threatens to disrupt service delivery.
SITA, which falls under the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, and the labour body are at loggerheads after failing to meet each other on salary negotiations for the 2022/23 financial year.
The agency acts as backend office of government ICT and is responsible for developing, operating and/or maintaining ICT services consumed by government departments.
The PSA, which represents the majority of employees at SITA, said in a statement this week that it had, following a deadlock in salary negotiations, issued the agency with a notice to strike, with a national shutdown from Monday, 16 October.
It threatens that services at departments such as home affairs, employment and labour, and the South African Social Security Agency will be affected by the shutdown.
SITA spokesperson Tlali Tlali told ITWeb that the agency this week made a final improved offer of a 4.5% salary increase across the board to all employee levels represented in the bargaining forum.
However, the PSA rejected the offer and started full-blown industrial action.
Amid the deadlock, SITA and the PSA reached out to minister Gungubele in the hope that he would help the parties reach an agreement.
In a statement yesterday, the communications department says it has been alerted by SITA of the negotiation deadlock and the subsequent protest action.
The department acknowledges the rights of employees to embark on such action.
“Although the department has noted calls for the minister to intervene, it is important to note this is a labour matter between the PSA, representing the employees, and SITA, as employer, where the department cannot interfere.
“Minister Gungubele is, however, calling upon both parties to find a speedy and amicable resolution to ensure service delivery is not negatively affected.
“The department has been assured by SITA that plans are in place to ensure key operations of the agency will be protected from any negative impact by this protest action,” it concludes.