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.