- Workers yet to receive P2500 minimum wage
- Union accuses DPSM of altering salary structures
- ‘Employer acted in bad faith to cut A3 scale notches’
In a dramatic turn of events, the National Amalgamated Local and Central Government and Parastatal Workers Union (NALCGPWU) is suing the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) for breaching implementation clauses of the 2022 salary negotiations outcomes.
The union, popularly known as Manual Workers, contend that government has acted in bad faith with regards to the implementation of P2500 minimum wage agreed on by the parties during 2022 salary negotiations. The sweet victory scored by the union during the negotiations was short lived.
While other trade unions agreed on 5% salary adjustments, Manual Workers Union took it alone to negotiations demanding P2500 minimum salary for the civil servants who are on the A3 scale. Chief negotiator, Robert Rabasimane said they are disappointed by DPSM for taking a unilateral decision to cut the number of notches for people in the A3 salary scale.
According to Rabasimane, the union has issued 30 days statutory requirement to sue government. “We are disappointed by the conduct of the employer by failing to implement the adjustments the way it was agreed. We have written to DPSM to act on good faith but it has failed. We have fought hard for the P2500 minimum wage and we cannot let government to ruin it,” he fumed.
To rub salt into the wound, Rabasimane said government did not engage unions on the issue. “It is a unilateral decision that is against the collective labour bargaining structures. It was totally wrong for the employer to touch salary structures without engaging not only us but other trade unions. The government didn’t give us reasons why it has reduced the notches,” he buttressed.
The outspoken Rabasimane said if government had wanted to score political points with the salary negotiations, it is unfortunate that they won’t entertain the breaching of conditions set. “We are mindful that elections season is upon and everyone could be trying to seduce the trade unions to gain their support. The culprit who took the decision to interfere with the salaries of workers without talking to us will be exposed. S/he will be fired when discovered,” he stated, adding that government is yet to implement the P2500 and the 5% salary adjustment.
But, he said this is not the issue as they have told that the process of implementation is ongoing. In a letter dated 31st May 2022 written to DPSM, the union Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Elsinah Botsalano said DPSM has unilaterally varied the contents of their as agreed during negotiations. She said Clause 2.1 of the agreement under “Salaries and the other conditions of Service” states that, “increase of the minimum salary for the A3 scale to sum of P2500 per month effective 1st April 2022.
“In your implementation circular Savingram for P2500 per month minimum salary you state that government has taken a “decision to reduce the number of notches for A3 (22 day month) salary scale’’. Our view is that this reduction of notches constitutes a unilateral variation of the contents and therefore a negotiable matter. The import of our agreement is that the minimum salary is pegged at P2500, without altering the salary structure since the structure wasn’t negotiated, “said Botsalano.
Botsalano said the union did not get any feedback from the employer, hence they have decided to sue.
Efforts to contact the new DPSM Director, Gaone Macholo proved unsuccessful at press time.
Meanwhile, Rabasimane said the union is supportive to the new DPSM Director, Macholo. He said Macholo is demonstrating maturity in approaching issues that unions are concerned about. “We had a meeting with her on Tuesday with the leadership of other trade unions. She has pledged to work well with unions and ensure that all pending matters are addressed amicably. Our advice to her is that she should be careful of some toxic people inside DPSM who always push a negative agenda behind the scenes to ensure every DPSM boss fails,” said Rabasimane.
According to Rabasimane, previous DPSM Directors were hostile to unions and made them fail as well.