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'Angry & frustrated' Sassa employees vow to intensify wages strike

Workers are calling for salary increases and have accused Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu of refusing to meet with their representatives.

FILE: Members of the Public Servants Association (PSA) protest in Pretoria. Picture: EWN

PRETORIA – South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) employees affiliated to the Public Servants Association (PSA) say they'll intensify their strike over wages nationwide.

Workers are calling for salary increases and have accused Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu of refusing to meet with their representatives.

They’ve held a demonstration outside the social security agency’s headquarters in Pretoria. Sassa employees say they’ve been left with no choice but to go on strike.

The PSA’s Ivan Fredericks said: “Our members are angry and frustrated. And they have taken to the streets knowing the consequences of their actions when it comes to no work, no pay.”

Fredricks says Sassa officials and Shabangu are simply not willing to listen to their demands.

“We do not have an audience with the minister. We had meetings [and] we are following up on calls etc… to say that the Sassa members at least need to be heard.”

The social security agency has applied for a court interdict to stop the strike which will be heard in the Labour Court on Tuesday.

WORKERS WILLING TO RISK THEIR LIVELIHOODS

Sassa employees say while they're aware their strike will cripple the agency's capacity to conduct payouts, they have been forced to abandon their stations.

They say they’re willing to put their jobs on the line in their quest for better salaries and working conditions.

Fredericks said: “They are willing to persist with this action because we believe it’s the right of workers to be at least heard.”

He says they’ve tried to minimise the impact of the strike but Sassa officials and Shabangu are not willing to meet with them.

“We do not do this because we love to do it, we do it because it’s our right and plea to be listened to.”

The PSA says its hopeful the labour court will rule in its favour in the minister’s court application aimed at stopping the strike.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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