SITA, striking workers set to sign salary deal

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 24 Oct 2023
SITA spokesperson Tlali Tlali.
SITA spokesperson Tlali Tlali.

The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) has reached an agreement with the Public Servants Association (PSA) to end a weeklong strike at the agency.

According to SITA spokesperson Tlali Tlali, the industrial action ended on Friday, and the workers resumed their duties yesterday.

SITA, which falls under the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, and the labour body were at loggerheads after failing to meet each other on salary negotiations for the 2022/23 financial year.

Last week, Tlali told ITWeb the agency had made a final improved offer of a 4.5% salary increase across the board to all employee levels represented in the bargaining forum. However, it was rebuffed by the trade union.

Amid the impasse, communications minister Mondli Gungubele urged the parties to urgently reach common ground, as service delivery was at stake as a result of the workers downing tools.

The agency acts as the 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 last 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 threatened that services at departments such as home affairs, employment and labour, and the South African Social Security Agency will be affected by the shutdown.

“The strike ended on Friday after the parties were able to reach an agreement on the wage negotiations for the current financial year,” Tlali says via e-mail.

“Effective from today [Monday], the employees who were on strike had returned to their workstations to resume work.

“We are pleased that we have breached the deadlock and have reached an in-principle agreement with the union – parties will sign the agreement on Wednesday.”

According to Tlali, the employees’ return to work enables SITA to have a full workforce complement to enable the company to focus on optimal performance in rendering services to government.

“We thank our clients for their understanding of the situation and we are satisfied that the business continuity measures put in place ensured no operations were compromised. We will comment on the details of the agreement once the parties have signed on the final text,” says Tlali.

The PSA had not responded to ITWeb’s questions about the strike by the time of publication.