Sunday, September 27, 2020

Fourteen gov’t employees claim forced retirement without notice

Employees at the Department of Engineering and Building Services are reported to be living in great insecurity after 14 of their colleagues were last week Friday served with letters terminating their employment contracts with the Department and that there were threats that more would follow.

According to sources, the letters were served on the officers during the day on Friday and that the exercise came as a great surprise to them.

”You can imagine how one feels when he is just given a letter terminating his services when he least expected it,” said one of the affected officers.
Asked if the formal procedures that have to be taken were not followed, such as giving them a three-month notice, the employee said that their query is mainly that such a thing was not done and that they were simply “pushed out”.

Commenting on the issue, Carter Morupisi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure Science and Technology, confirmed that some of their employees had been retired and that there was nothing wrong with that as this always happens.

Asked why so many people had been retired at the same time, Marupisi said that there was nothing sinister about that as well.

”There is nothing strange or sinister with the numbers that have been retired,” he stressed.

He said that when people are employed, both concerned parties draw a contract which permits each side to withdraw the contract when ever they have valid reasons for such an action. He added that, in this case, the government felt that it should withdraw the contract it had gone into with the concerned officers, stressing that it is a normal practice.

Asked if they were accordingly notified about this, Morupisi said that they were notified by being given a three-month’s notice, which is what our labour laws require. He declined to disclose reasons for the decision to retire the employees saying, ”That is an internal matter.”

That the former employees were notified is, however, denied by the concerned former employees who say that the letters came as a surprise to them.
“We were never notified as is claimed by Morupisi,” said one former employee.

In a related issue of mass retirement of employees, the Department of Central Transport Organisation is reported to also have served close to ten of its employees with letters terminating their services.
Moakofi Modisanyane , the General Manager of CTO, referred all questions to Morupisi.

Some reports are saying that the retirement of the officers is just the beginning of worse things to come for government employees as the government has decided to terminate employment contracts for some of its employees.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.