South African National Parks (SANParks) has to date not received formal notice that employees affiliated to the Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (HOSPERSA) will embark on a possible labour strike in the coming days, following a negotiation deadlock with regards to salary increases.
This is according to SANParks Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Fundisile Mketeni, who 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, indicating that the members of the union intend embarking on strike action. “Instead, on 11th July 2017, SANParks met with all recognized 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 the news came as a surprise because the meeting to agree on the strike and picketing rules has not taken place as yet. “Should the union continue with its threats, those employees who decide to embark on strike action would not be allowed to picket on SANParks’ premises without an agreement or permission and 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.”
In its statement, HOSPERSA insinuated that a profit amounting to R1,29 billion was realized in the last financial year, therefore a nine percent (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 includes, staff remunerations; conservation operations and tourism plant maintenance amongst many of SANParks’ financial commitments,” said Mketeni.
He stated that, accordingly our offer provides a solution which is above the current CPI. “You will note that the CPI for April and May was at 5.3 percent and 5.4 percent respectively. Hence, the six percent (6%) plus one percent (1%) pay progression is reasonable.”
He said despite HOSPERSA’s pronouncement that all operations will be disrupted at various parks, SANParks would like to reassure members of the public that in the event of strike contingency plans will be activated to ensure that service is not interrupted and our visitors are safe. “We hope that sanity will prevail and our employees will not heed to the HOSPERSA call,” concludes Mketeni.
For previous media statements please go to www.sanparks.org