Home Affairs unfazed by threats of strike action

Employees have threatened to strike over a change in working hours, effective from today.

The Home Affairs Department in Cape Town. Picture: Giovanna Gerbi/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Home Affairs Department says it's not fazed by threats of a strike by its employees over the change in working hours.

As of today, the new operating hours for the public will be from 8am to 4pm on weekdays and 8am to 12:30pm on weekends.

These changes will require department officials to work six days a week instead of five.

The Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA) has argued that employees should be remunerated for the extra day.

The union's Leon Gilbert says, "That is not only inconvenient but expensive for members; they need to travel one day more. Employees don't mind working on a Saturday but where they worked on Saturdays, they would get a day off during the week."

But Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni says the re-organising of operational hours will improve service delivery and employees with still work a 40-hour week.

"People were getting off during the week, which costs our clients, when they get into the office of Home Affairs that there are 10 counters but there are only three people at work."

The PSA says a conciliation meeting has been arranged for early next month and if talks fail, its members will go on strike.