BOSETU Responds To Ajustment Of Salaries To A Section Of The Public Service
Government Exhibits Hypocrisy
We note that on, 29th March 2017, government through the office of the Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) announced a unilateral adjustment of 4% to salaries of the Public Servants who are not unionized.
Government refuses to negotiate
This adjustment comes on the backdrop of the refusal by government, four (4) months, to negotiate under the pretext that the courts are still seized with a matter with respect to the scope of the PSBC.
BOFEPUSU had at that time reasoned that the issue of the scope that is before the courts has nothing to do with the current negotiation process, but was an issue of interpretation that is meant to clarify some clauses of the PSBC constitution going forward.
Why the case of the scope of the PSBC could not be withdrawn
Withdrawing the case on the scope would have meant that the determination made by the industrial court that the outcome of the negotiations in the PSBC affects only those public servants whose unions are admitted would stand and would be taken as the law.
If the situation remains as stated at 3.1 above, that is, the PSBC’s negotiation outcome only affecting those workers whose unions are admitted into the council, it would give government the license to always undermine the PSBC.
Government would always make adjustments for those outside the PSBC even when the negotiation process is on. This would undermine the Bargaining Council and the bargaining process as the Bargaining Council would be rendered useless and obsolete. Government would always preempt the outcome of any bargaining process by announcing increments for those outside the PSBC.
Government wanted this case on scope of the PSBC to be withdrawn so that the PSBC could be rendered dysfunctional.
4. Federation Dilemma (3% Vs Protection Bargaining Principle
At this juncture, BOFEPUSU was faced with two difficult scenarios, either to withdraw the case, allowing a situation that would render the PSBC and as a consequence have a 3% for workers or continue the case that would protect the functionality of the PSBC and temporarily forgo an increment.
BOFEPUSU with the guidance of a resolution of a delegate congress, decided to pursue the case and temporarily forgo an increment.
The Case on Scope of the PSBC
This case that government used as a basis for refusal to bargain was heard on 10th February 2017.
Judgment on the matter was reserved to 12th May 2017. However, the resent development is that the judgment will be delivered on 7th April 2017.
We expect that immediately after this judgment has been delivered on 7th April 2017 the PSBC would convene to conclude the 2016/17 and the 2017/18 salary negotiations.
Has the 2016/17 Salary Adjustment been forfeited?
It has to be noted that before government refused to bargain on the pretext that there is a case on the scope of the PSBC, government had already put on the bargaining table through a counter proposal a 3%
So 3% has already been tabled and in accordance with the bargaining principles, it cannot be withdrawn.
In other words a 3% has already been given and unions would either agree or attempt to negotiate it upwards. So, the 2016/17 increment is there, and they is no how it could have been forfeited contrary to some believe that the 3% has been forfeited.
Whether the 2016/17 (3%) would be backdated
In our view, the 2016/17 salary adjustments would and should be backdated because government has demonstrated that they have budgeted a 3% for every employee in the public service hence they will be no justification why the increment especially the 3% cannot be backdated.
More importantly, the PSBC has resolution taken in 2014 to the effect that going forward, outcomes of a negotiation process shall effect at the beginning of the financial year.
In view of the forgoing, there would be no reason why the 2016/17-salary adjustment cannot be backdated. Way forward on unilateral 4% adjustment to salaries of non – unionized public servants On Wednesday 29th March 2017, federation attorneys gave the attorney generals on behalf of government an ultimatum to have made a pronouncement of a stay of implementation of the contents of the government Press Release relating to the unilateral 4% increment to the non – unionized. On Thursday 30th March 2017, federation attorneys filed papers to interdict and restrain government from implementing a 45% wage adjustment for non – unionized employees of the public service until the court has delivered its judgment on the scope of the PSBC.
This case would be heard on Tuesday 4th April 2017.
Meanwhile, the judgment on the case on the scope of the PSBC would be delivered on Friday 7th 2017.
Appeal to union members
We would like in conclusion to appeal to our members to remain calm and focused in spite of this volatile environment.
Once more, we would like to assure the general membership that we are in control. Comrades should understand that the war we fighting is bigger than a 3%, it’s a war to protect the bargaining right in this country.
More importantly comrades should understand that government is deliberately using this strategy of refusing to bargain and then increasing for the non – BOFEPUSU public servants as a strategy to have employees terminating membership of bofepusu affiliated unions.
There is no doubt that some top government officers and even Ministers are working in cohorts with some yellow unions to use the current scenario to recruit for them (such yellow union).
We appeal to you to remain guarded, stand by our unions, and resist falling into such untoward tactics.
Tobokani Nicholas Rari
Secretary General, BOSETU