Home Affairs pay row could spell end of Saturday service

Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni also denied the claims, saying all the correct procedures had been followed when awarding the tender Picture: Peggy Nkomo
Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni 
Picture: Peggy Nkomo

The Department of Home Affairs is locked in an overtime pay dispute with unions which could see it scrapping Saturdays as part of its service offering.

Department director-general Mkuseli Apleni said on Thursday that there appeared to be no end in sight to the deadlock as the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) was preparing to picket over the issue on Friday.

“This dispute emanates from a 2005 instruction by the Cabinet to open frontline offices on Saturdays. When the new system of working on Saturdays was introduced‚ officials were paid overtime. However‚ due to the department’s financial constraints‚ payment of overtime … was no longer financially sustainable‚” said Apleni.

The dispute arose when officials were no longer paid for overtime because of financial constraints and a new operational shift system was introduced‚ he said.

The issue has played out at the General Public Service Sectoral Bargaining Council‚ the Labour Court‚ the Labour Appeal Court and now the matter is pending before the Constitutional Court.

The parties agreed to go to mediation pending the outcome of the Constitutional Court case‚ however this effort has also failed‚ with the department and unions so far failing to come to an agreement.

“The department wishes to advise the public that the actions of Nupsaw may lead to a situation where services of the department may be interrupted‚ although the department will do everything in its power to ensure minimal interruptions‚” said Apleni.

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2 thoughts on “Home Affairs pay row could spell end of Saturday service

  • November 11, 2016 at 9:53 pm
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    Mike you are talking rubbish without knowing what the real situation is. Home affairs employees used to work 8 hours shift over the period of 5 days (Monday to Friday). Saturday used to be optional for employees who wanted to work paid overtime. Saturday was never compulsary. There were employees who never bothered to work Saturday overtime due to challenges ranging from non availability of transport on Saturdays, getting child minders and other family commitments. This method however became costly for Home affairs. DG Apleni later introduced Saturday as a normal working day but rewarded employees who worked on Saturday with a day off during the week. Employees were never accepted this implementation but went along with it as they still worked 5 days in a week. This implementation later brought about staff shortages when employees who worked on Saturdays took day off during the weeek. The DG later abolished day off during the week. He forced employees to work 6 days in a week with Sunday only as a rest day. Employees are now forced to work 7 hours shift from Monday to friday resulting in emplyees owing 5 hours to Home Affairs,employees are forced to work the remaining 5 hours on Saturday. This is exploitation of employees at it’s best. Employees are forced to pay extra transport costs for the 6th day without employer covering those costs,employees have to pay extra costs for Saturday child minders and employer could not provide facilities for child care at work. there also employees who use buses to work and most bus transport systems operate between monday and Friday and other alternative methods of transport are expensive for them,besides no employee can afford 1 rest day in week. Home Affairs should save costs at the expenses and lives of the employees. If Home Affairs cannot afford to pay overtime, it must not open offices on Saturday just like most government departments.

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  • November 11, 2016 at 7:55 am
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    Typical!! We could all see that coming!! Fire them and hire people who really want to work

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