NEWS

Civil Service Reform Chief Questions Unions’ Absence

Union representatives under the Confederation of Public Sector Unions umbrella were provided with draft procedures on civil service reforms in March. They were then invited to meet with the Civil
07 Jul 2017 10:00
Civil Service Reform Chief  Questions Unions’  Absence
Agni Deo Singh. Photo:FTUC

Union representatives under the Confederation of Public Sector Unions umbrella were provided with draft procedures on civil service reforms in March.

They were then invited to meet with the Civil Service Reform Management unit director Jane Curran and team to discuss the then draft, but they declined the invitation.

This has been revealed by Ms Curran in light of comments made publicly by various unionists about the reforms and changes in pay structure.

When asked about the claims by unionists that the pay increase was conditional, Ms Curran said: “We can confirm that we provided a copy of the then draft procedures in March and had invited them to meet to discuss them, but they declined to meet.

“We advised them that we could not delay the implementation, gave dates (April) where we expected the procedures to be approved and they did not accept our invitation to meet,” Ms Curran said.

“We invited them to meet again in June, which some of the individual unions did accept, we highlighted the contract offers and they did not object at that time,” she said.

Soon after the national Budget for 2017-2018 was announced, the same unionists took to the media condemning the pay increase which they claim were conditional further claiming that only those who signed new contracts.

What they did not reveal was the numerous attempts made to get them to discuss the procedures involved.

And, while unionists are speaking out in media, they have not taken the matter up with the unit.

“We have not received any correspondence on their claims, and have only seen what has been reported in the papers,” Ms Curran said.

Fijian Teachers Association General Secretary Peni Delaibatiki said the Confederation of Public Sector Unions (COPSU) had made a joint submission to the Civil Service Reform Management Unit sometimes early this year.

COPSU is made up of the Fiji Public Service Association, Fiji Teachers Union, Fijian Teachers Association (FTA) and Fiji Nurses Association.

“We jointly made a submission under COPSU sometimes soon after we met with Government,” Mr Delaibatiki said.

Mr Delaibaitiki said FPSA General Secretary Rajeshwar Singh would be the best person to comment on the matter.

Mr Delaibatiki said they did not meet with the CSRMU after they were given a draft of the civil service reforms in March.”

“However we did meet several times before that.”

“However Rajeshwar (Singh) would be the best person to talk to.”

Numerous calls made to Mr Singh and FTU General Secretary Agni Deo Singh proved futile.

The transition to the new salary structure has commenced this month, for all officers in the common cadres and the Government Wage Earners.

Salary increases start from first available pay period after the contract is accepted.  Implementation is phased over the next three months, details of which are available in the Job Evaluation and Civil Service Remuneration Guideline published on the Public Service Commission website.

Ms Curran who has been spearheading the reforms said the matter is not simply that of a salary increase.

“We have introduced broad banding, and position based pay that is benchmarked to the private sector.  With such a fundamental change, it is important that civil servants acknowledge the differences through signing new contracts,” she said.

Contracts were introduced in 2009 for civil servants and there are only a small percentage of staff who are currently not on fixed term contracts.

“The overall focus of the reforms is on a high performing civil service, providing quality and effective services to the Fijian people.

“We would also highlight that with extensive change happening in the Civil Service, it should be expected that this will be captured in staff contracts.  The way we work is changing, position titles are changing, as is the salary being paid to positions, hence the need to capture all these changes in contracts.”

That in the first tranche, the common cadres, 90 per cent of staff are already on fixed term contracts.  Across the Civil Service, approximately 75 per cent of staff are already on fixed term contracts.  All staff are being offered new contracts to capture the changes in their work and the pay, not just the permanent staff.

“Reforms are about fundamental change – with a focus on improving the services for the Fijian people.

“Many of our civil servants have a strong understanding of service delivery, and their performance will be rewarded through the improvements in the way Ministries select, manage and reward their staff,” Ms Curran said.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Total Excellium
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper