Saturday, September 19, 2020

Government plans to reduce workforce confirmed

The Sunday Standard is in possession of a copy of a letter confirming that an Early Exit Policy for the public service is no longer a matter for speculation.

The letter, addressed to all Heads of Department, including the Commander of the Botswana Defence Force and the Commissioner of Botswana Police Services, from the Director, Directorate of the Public Service Management (DPSM), is dated 10th March, 2009.

The policy is also intended to apply to members of the security forces and to the rest of the public service.

“Addressees are informed that Government, through Presidential Directive Cab 40/2008, has approved Public Service Early Exit Policy,” reads part of the Directive REF: DP 19/4 V (154).

The correspondence goes on thus, “The policy shall apply to the Teaching service, Local Government Service, Land Board Service, Botswana Police Service, Botswana Prisons Service and Central Government and Industrial Class employees who have to leave the public service before reaching the compulsory retirement age.”

Organizational changes or developments, which directly result in staff reduction at a particular level, category, skill or occupation, are cited as some of the factors that may justify early exit, as would the need to address the inability of an officer to perform to expected standard.

It is also envisaged that the introduction of technologies and unspecified working practices, which impact directly or indirectly on the number, skills or competencies of employees, will also have a bearing on the decision to send home any targeted officers.

There is a concern in the labour movement as in the non-unionized workforce, as to the reasonableness of Government’s approach in handling the matter.

“It is very suspect whether Government is really prepared to take this position, or does it seem expedient before the unions could make any sense of what is really going on,” wondered one lawyer, adding that “this hasty decision could have boomerang implications for Government”.

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