Public worker union threatens to shut down Department of Home Affairs’ services in strike

6 Jun 17

SOUTH AFRICA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The union representing workers in the Department of Home Affairs has threatened a nationwide strike next month if a dispute over working hours is not resolved. DHA and union officials met today to work toward an agreement, but it was not clear if a deal would be reached.

What does the change mean? A strike would cause significant disruptions to immigration, travel and other DHA services.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The Public Servants Association has threatened to strike next month if they cannot reach an agreement.
  • Who is affected: Anyone seeking immigration, travel or other DHA services in South Africa.
  • Impact on processing times: A prolonged strike would seriously delay processing times.
  • Business impact: Businesses should take note that a strike is possible and plan accordingly.

Background: The dispute is related to the DHA’s decision to adjust employee shifts when it changed its offices’ public opening and closing hours in 2015. DHA Director General Mkuseli Apleni said in a statement that the DHA continued to comply with working hour laws, including a 40-hour work week, and that the change in public opening and closing hours was essential to the DHA delivering critical services effectively. South Africa’s Constitutional Court instructed the two sides to try and resolve their disagreements, but the union said they will begin a strike next month if no agreement is reached.

BAL Analysis: There has been no disruption of services up to this point, but a strike next month appears likely given recent media statements of the two parties to the dispute. BAL will continue to follow the matter and will report to clients on significant developments, including any potential disruption in services.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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