NUPSAW received yesterday (6 June) a Certificate of Non-resolution from the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council which gives its members in the Department of Home Affairs the right to embark legally on industrial action after giving 7 days’ notice in terms of the Labour Relations Act, concerning amendments to their operational working hours.

In 2014, during a Departmental Bargaining Chamber (DBC) meeting, the National Department of Home Affairs indicated a proposed change in office hours to one hour less per day and Saturdays becoming work days.

In February 2015, the matter was once again tabled at a special meeting of the DBC, but NUPSAW and other unions opposed the proposed changes arguing that it should be subjected to collective bargaining. However, the Department stood by its position and issued a circular, confirming that the new proposal would come into effect on 23 March 2015.

The dispute was set down for conciliation by the Bargaining Council on 2 April 2015. At the hearing, the panellist found that the matter referred to conciliation ‘is not a matter of mutual interest; consequently, the Bargaining Council lacks jurisdiction in this matter”.

NUPSAW and the other unions took the decision on review to the Labour Court who ruled in our favour, namely that the dispute did involve a matter of mutual interest and had to be conciliated. The Department (DOH)applied for leave to appeal to the Labour Appeal Court, but that was denied.

Subsequently, the Department had the matter referred to the Constitutional Court on the basis that there was a misinterpretation of the law. It believed that the proposal was viewed as a dispute of existing right rather than of mutual interest.

On 28 February 2017, the Constitutional Court indirectly ruled that the dispute is indeed a matter of mutual interest and may be referred to conciliation by a commissioner or a bargaining council under the Labour Relations Act.

However, a dispute for conciliation with the Department has once again failed and the Conciliating Commissioner issued on the 6th June a Certificate of Non-resolution which gives us the right to strike.

On 7 June 2017 NUPSAW received once again an Application for Arbitration from the Department of Home Affairs to determine whether this is a dispute of “mutual interest”.

This clear indication of delaying tactics will not deter NUPSAW from serving the Department of Home Affairs with a notice to embark on strike action.

The Strike Committee that will look into the logistics for such an action, will consist of The National NUPSAW Organiser, one official Office Bearer each of PSA and NEHAWU.

For more information:
Success Mataitsane,
NUPSAW General Secretary
Cell 082 553 8465

Issued by
Thariza Steyn
Media Officer
Tel. 012 342 1674