A strike by workers in the Department of Home Affairs appears to have been averted after the DHA and a union representing the workers reached an agreement on a working-hours dispute.

Key points: 

Workers had planned to launch a strike on June 19, but the National Education, Health & Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said Friday it had reached a settlement with the government. Union leaders said they will brief workers on the agreement Monday morning.

It appears that normal operating hours and immigration services will continue for the foreseeable future. A strike likely would have caused significant delays at airports and to in-country immigration services.

Background: As BAL reported earlier this month, the dispute stemmed from the DHA’s decision to adjust employee shifts when it changed its offices’ hours in 2015. The sticking point for the union was that workers were asked to cover Saturday shifts, adding an extra work day to their schedules even though, according to the DHA, employees were still on a 40-hour work week. Nehawu said in a Facebook post Friday that the government agreed to withdraw the 2015 policy and that “workers will revert back to the working conditions that were applied prior to the introduction of the imposed new working hours” in 2015. A statement posted on DHA’s website said that agency officials would brief the media on Saturday about “the settlement agreement reached between the parties.” 

BAL Analysis: A strike would have caused significant disruption to travel and immigration services, and news of the agreement is a welcome development.

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

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