The government has formally responded to multiple demands made to them by the Public Service Trade Unions concerning adjustments of salary scales and review of allowances made by the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Daniel Kwelagobe, in Parliament recently.
On the main issue brought before it by the unions demanding 30 percent salary increment, the government’s response is that they can not accede to the demand because of critical national priorities and budgetary constraints and that it would be unaffordable and unsustainable to the economy of the country.
On the demand that the government should compensate employees for inflation and the declining purchasing power, the government said that these recommendations would have adverse financial implications on the overall performance of the economy.
On the scarce skill which the unions wanted to be reintroduced , the government said that the issue has been resolved as scarce skills payment will be implemented as per directive No 2, of 3 April, 2008 and that guidelines on this will provide guidelines on implementation.
On the demand for 15 percent housing allowance, the government responded by stating that the Ministry of Lands and Housing has been mandated to look into the issue of housing and that a memorandum is already circulating and that comments on it are expected from the Ministries.
Another issue, which the government has responded to positively, is that of travel concessions, which was recently cancelled without reasons given to employees.
On this issue, the government’s response has been that travel concession will be reinstated and that the Directorate of Public Service Management will issue a directive on this.
Sources say that manual workers are still aggrieved by the fact that, whilst other employees will be getting it after every two years, they will only qualify for it after five years, which they feel is grossly discriminative.
On harmonization of terms and conditions between local and Central Government employees, the government’s response has been that a reference committee and the consultant have finalized the draft public service bill and the Public Service regulations draft on 7 April 2008 and will now be forwarded to the Cabinet for processing.
On the issue of the disparity between jobs for local authority employees and those in similar positions in Central Government, the government responded by saying that the Ministries of Local Government and the President were still considering the matter internally and that a memorandum is to be submitted as soon as the task force has finalized its work and that unions will be informed once a decision has been made on the matter.
The government turned down the demand to extend its GEMVAS to industrial employees and allow public service employees to purchase farm vehicles saying that would increase its contingency liability under the scheme.