The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has welcomed the suspension of the industrial action that forced the closure of multiple branches across the country.

The Public Servants Association (PSA) and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) have been engaged in wage negotiations with SARS since May.

SARS reported that 18 of its tax branches had not been operational, resulting in delays in servicing taxpayers and pushing more people to use digital services.

“In light of this announcement by the two unions, striking employees are back at work, and SARS operations, including trade facilitation at our borders, are continuing as usual,” said SARS.

The suspension of the industrial action affords all parties the opportunity to work towards progressing the negotiations and related discussions towards settling the dispute, said SARS.

“A follow-up discussion, as well as the National Bargaining process, will be scheduled soon to continue the engagements.”

The PSA was the first to officially suspend the industrial action on 20 July 2022, followed by Nehawu on 8 August 2022, said SARS.

SARS staff first embarked on strike in May, when employees and the employer could not settle on a wage agreement. Nehawu and the PSA said they would strike in light of the ‘successful’ strike at Eskom, and SARS proposed a wage increase of 1.39%.

The revenue service said previously that it did not have the resources to meet the labour demands of CPI plus 7%, and the unions subsequently took action.