The rift between government and public sector trade unions is set to widen following a unilateral decision by the employer to modify conditions of service of public servants in December 2014, totally disregarding the bargaining process as recommended by the public service act.
The Public Service Act, which came into force in 2008, establishes the public sector bargaining council where issues affecting the conditions of service of public servants should be presented for bargaining. On December 05, government once again ignored calls for bargaining over conditions of service of public servants when the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Local Government and Rural Development announced adjustments to housing allowance and commuted overtime allowance.
Khumomatlhare said the ministry if finance and development planning has approved revenue support grant ceiling figures for the financial year 2015/2016 budget. Outlining comments and budget preparations guidelines for 2015/16, the PS, Boipelo Khumomatlhare, said personnel emoluments have taken into account the incremental creep of 3% and 4% salary increase, housing allowance at 1% for bands E1 and E2 and P200 for all bands D1 and below, and commuted overtime allowance (5% for C3 and above and 10% for C4 and below). Khumomatlhare could not be reached to explain the contents of the Savingram at the time of going to print.
2015/2016 allowances adjustment
• 1% for E1 and E2 (makes *P3,638.40 and *P3,191.64 respectively per annum)
• P200 for D1 and below
Commuted overtime allowance
• 5% for C3 and above (makes*P4,787 per annum)
• 10% for C4 and below (makes *P7,720 per annum)
* figures from the highest notch in 2014 White Paper of public service salaries used in the calculations
BOFEPUSU Secretary General Tobokani Rari said the savingram amounts to variation of conditions of service of public servants if the PS is instructing government departments that the payment of overtime as prescribed in the Employment act and PSA will change from the next financial year. The two acts explicitly explain how extra hours worked (overtime) by an employee should be calculated and remunerated be it holiday, weekend or rest day.
Midweek normal daily rate x extra hours worked x 1.5
Holidays/ rest days normal daily rate x extra hours worked x 2
Rari said according to the Savingram overtime will be fixed regardless of the extra hours worked beyond normal working hours, and the type of day such overtime was accumulated. he said by do doing the PS is varying the conditions of service of government employees without subject such to the bargaining process, which amounts to a unilateral variation. He said they have complained to the employer over such unilateralism on numerous occasions in the past, especially last year when government announced the 4% salary increment and the adjustment of RADS allowances. "This is unacceptable and illegal as it violates the PSA. Over and above it amounts serious abuse and exploitation of workers because it does not take into account other factors. It will create a lot of disparities. The PS is an agent of the employer. If he varies this provision then it should have been brought to the bargaining council for bargaining," he said.
Legal advice on the way forwarded was expected to be delivered to BOFEPUSU tomorrow (Monday).