The South African Revenue Service (SARS) says it has taken the step of employing over 550 cleaning staff – who were previously subcontracted – as permanent employees.
SARS said in a statement on Wednesday (16 September), that it has in previous years contracted cleaning services for its offices, “but due to the contracts expiring every year, the organisation implemented a project to insource the cleaning staff permanently”.
The initiative will see 569 cleaning staff joining the ranks of SARS employees from 31 October.
In explaining this decision, SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter said: “While at times it makes commercial sense to insource certain services, like facilities cleaning and security, it is not always the best value proposition for the individual employees.
The move bucks the conventional trend to outsource “non-core” services, he said.
“When we reviewed the renewal of these services, we realised that our reduced requirements for office space would lead to a reduced service with fewer number of individuals, and depending on who the successful bidder ends up being appointed, it would likely have a negative impact on a large number of employees as well as be disruptive for everyone concerned.”
The SARC chief said that this new arrangement brings job certainty and greater dignity to the affected individuals.
“In our evaluation of the decision, we also realised that a number of the cleaning staff were sufficiently qualified, and have the potential, subject to development, to progress and be considered for career progression within SARS, but would also become more employable beyond SARS.
“In a country with tragically high levels of unemployment, we could not contemplate a decision that would have implied potentially over 300 individuals joining the ranks of the unemployed. I am pleased that we were able to improve the prospect for affected individuals without additional cost to SARS,” Kieswetter said.
The employees identified for career progression will be upskilled in other SARS disciplines and placed into vacancies, as and when vacancies become available, within the organisation, where they can further develop themselves professionally, the revenue service said.
SARS said it is also currently working on considering a similar approach for security services.