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Union Strike Threatens the Kruger National Park

5 September 2019

SANParks was threatened with a shutdown by The Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa).

This shutdown affects everything that falls under SANParks, Including the world-famous tourist destination, The Kruger National Park. Hospersa is the union that covers the majority of workers at SANParks and they, along with two other well-known unions, have been in a bitter dispute against the tourism giant about wages. Many workers have refused to work but have been persuaded to come back while plans are made on a compromise.

Unfortunately, Negotiations fell flat at CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) as none of the parties could agree on a wage increase. After a recommendation of an 8% increase was announced by the Commissioner, all parties accepted the increase except for SANParks, who could only give a 6.5% increase. All parties are set to meet on Wednesday, 11 September 2019 to finalise the plans for industrial actions. Public Relations Officer from Hospersa, Kevin Halama stated that he was disappointed at SANParks for not coming up with the recommended 8% increase. Halama further stated that the negotiations were going on for far too long and said that their members have been waiting for their increase since April. Hospersa will now resort to their last course of action which is an industrial action which will force the employer to increase its offer.

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At the moment, SANParks is getting ready for the annual free access week of National Parks week, which will last from 8 September to 15 September. Visitors will have free access to all of SANParks’s 21 facilities. Hospersa had warned that an industrial action by themselves and the two other unions will greatly affect the day-to-day services throughout the National Parks as activities that visitors and household can participate like guided walks filling stations and game drives will all be affected. Field rangers, field guides, receptionists, petrol attendants and hut attendants are all extremely disappointed with SANParks for no being able to meet the demands of the unions stated Halama.

The original demand that was asked for was 11% but members lowered it to 8% to increase the chances of getting an increase. Because of the refusal by SANParks, tensions are running at an all-time high and notions are being made that SANParks is a greedy employer. In the days to come, 5000 members nationwide are prepared for a national strike. SANParks failed to return to CCMA with a better offer and is still paying unfair wages, which is infuriating members more.

SANParks has not made any announcements to the public and currently have no comments on the matter at hand.

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