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Court throws out immigration officers’ injunction

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The Industrial Relations Court (IRC) sitting in Blantyre has dismissed the application for an injunction which 204 immigration officers filed in their effort to restrain their employer from conducting interviews on the ranks they claim they were already promoted to.

A court ruling, which The Daily Times has seen, indicates that IRC Deputy Chairperson Innocent Nebi presided over the case.

Among other things, he indicates that granting an injunctive relief against the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services would choke its operations.

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According to the court, the 204 immigration officers were recruited in 2012 and, in May 2020, they lodged a complaint to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services on delayed promotions.

The court also heard that, in May 2020, the department promoted them but that the workers never received salary increments corresponding with their new ranks.

“On 14 January 2022, the applicants were surprised to receive letters from the Civil Service Commission inviting them for interviews for the very same ranks they were promoted to.

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“The applicants find the respondent’s conduct, of inviting them for interviews for the posts, to be contrary to fair labour principles and violation of their legitimate expectations,” a court document reads.

However, the department denied ever promoting the officers, arguing that laid down procedures were flouted, such that any purported promotion is irregular.

Pending hearing of the matter, the concerned officers applied for an interim injunction against the enforcement of the decision to have them undergo interviews

However, in his ruling, Nebi contends that it is not a proper case to grant an urgent interim relief because, should the court rule in favour of the officers after trial, they would be properly compensated for damages.

The IRC has since ordered the Civil Service Commission to continue administering promotion interviews.

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