D-day for Home Affairs over staff working hours

Director General Mkhuseli Apleni announced last week that arbitration had deadlocked and employees planned on downing tools from Monday.

FILE: A Department of Home Affairs office. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

PRETORIA – It’s D-day for the Home Affairs Department to find out if unions will embark on a potentially crippling strike at its offices.

Director-General Mkuseli Apleni announced last week that arbitration had deadlocked and employees planned on downing tools from Monday.

The dispute is over work on Saturdays and whether staff should be paid or receive a day off instead.

The department says it met with unions at arbitration at the bargaining council on Monday.

The parties were scheduled to make a submission to the arbitrator but while the department presented its offer, the unions were not ready and were given until Wednesday to make their submission.

The arbitrator is scheduled to make a decision today which will indicate whether the unions proceed with their intended strike.

The department has offered to give staff a day off on Wednesdays for work on Saturdays, while the unions want staff to be paid.

Apleni said last week that all Home Affairs offices will be affected, included ports of entry and its refugee centres.