South African immigration officer strike to affect airports
28 August 2006
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More than 800 immigration officers at South African airports are to go on strike between August 28 and September 1.
"The strike will adversely affect all points of entry and international airports," said Manie de Clercq, deputy general manager of the Public Servants Association (PSA).
"It may be that only a few hundred people (go on strike), but because of the importance of their jobs, it will have a significant effect."
The PSA, which represents 90 percent of immigration officers, served the Department of Home Affairs with a notice of the strike in due time. It contended that the department had failed to upgrade the salaries of immigration officers.
De Clercq said immigration officers were being paid level two salaries when they were entitled to salaries at level six, almost double what they are currently being paid. Chief immigration officers qualified for level 11 and 12 salary structures, but they too are being paid far less.
After several discussions with the PSA, the department agreed in June to a job evaluation for these salaries. But the PSA said the salaries had still not been upgraded. De Clercq said the salary request was not based on the demands of union members, but on the evaluation drafted by Home Affairs.
"We want them to comply with their own report. It is extremely disappointing that despite the job evaluation exercise, the department continues to underpay immigration officers."
Southa Africas Home Affairs spokesperson Nkosana Sibuyi said the department was working on ways to counter the effects of the upcoming strike.
"Obviously we will have to find some creative way to deal with the strike."
Sibuyi said Home Affairs was aware of the PSA's grievance and was "looking at the entire system around the payment of immigration officers" in a bid to reach a solution.
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