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05 September 2019

Hospersa has threatened a national shutdown at South African National Parks (SANParks) after wage negotiations collapsed with the tourism giant.  Two other unions are also in support of the shutdown as all three recognised unions at SANParks look to put pressure on the employer to offer their members a better wage increase.  Hospersa has cautioned SANParks to address the issue of a fair remuneration for its members or risk a negative impact to its tourism revenue and conservation efforts during the industrial action.

Hospersa, which is the majority trade union at SANParks, together with two other recognised unions are embroiled in a bitter wage dispute with the tourism giant.  Negotiations collapsed at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) after parties could not agree on a wage increase.  The Commissioner had recommended that parties settle for a 8% increase which the unions were willing to accept, however SANParks could only offer a 6,5% increase.  Parties are now set to meet next week Wednesday to finalise plans for industrial action.

“We are bitterly disappointed that SANParks failed to come up with the 8% offer as recommended by the Commissioner to end the impasse,” said Hospersa Public Relations Officer Kevin Halama.  “These negotiations have dragged for far too long as our members have been waiting for their increase since April.  We will now resort to our last course of action which is industrial action to force the employer to improve on its offer,” added Halama.

The talks of industrial action could not have come at a worse time for SANParks as it gears up for its annual free access week from 08 to 15 September 2019.  During this week, visitors will gain free access to all 21 SANParks facilities.   Talk of industrial action by the three unions will affect day-to-day services which include household and visitor activities like guided walks and game drives as well as petrol filling stations.  Visitors will have difficulty accessing the parks at entrance gates and camp receptions where services will also be affected.

“Our members which includes Field Rangers, Field Guides, Petrol Attendants, Receptionists and Hut Attendants are very upset that the employer has failed to meet the unions’ demands at the CCMA,” said Halama.  “Whilst our members’ initial demand was  11% increase, they were willing to settle for the 8%.  The CCMA outcome has now heightened tensions and spreading the notion that we are dealing with a greedy employer,” added Halama.

“Adding fuel to the fire is a pending dispute over SANParks’ failure to implement a correct rate of pay for payment of Sunday and public holidays,” said Halama.  “In 2017, Hospersa received a compliance order against SANParks after reporting the matter to the Department of Labour (DoL) of which the tourism giant has still failed to comply with.  Aside from failing to return to the CCMA with an improved offer, the tourism giant continues to pay unfair wages for Sunday and overtime and this has angered our members even more,” argued Halama.

“Together with the two other unions, close to five thousand (5000) disgruntled employees are now gearing up for a nationwide strike in the days to come.  We appeal to  SANParks to reconsider its position by paying fair wages in order to avoid industrial action that will negatively impact its revenue and conservation efforts,” concluded Halama.



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