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GOVT STARTS E15M PAY REVIEW EXERCISE

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MBABANE – Government has started the E15 million salary review exercise, while PSUs raised concerns about the delay of the process.

The first step to the salary review of all civil servants in the country started yesterday, following that government and the Public Sector Unions (PSUs) reached an agreement on the terms of reference of the exercise. The agreement was reached this year in July during the Joint Negotiation Forum (JNF) which is formed by the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) and the four PSUs made up of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU), National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU) and the Swaziland National Association of Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP).

The issue of salary review was eventually the first on the JNF agenda after the Conciliation Mediation Arbitration Commission (CMAC)’s intervention. The PSUs leaders wanted the salary review to be first of the JNF agenda, while the GNT prioritised cost-of-living adjustment (CoLA). The parties reached a deadlock and ended up at CMAC, but were sent back to solve the matter amicably which saw the PSUs winning the order of the agenda items. Yesterday, the Ministry of Public Service invited qualified firms to express their interest in providing the service. This will culminate in shortlisting and ultimately choosing the best evaluated bidder, which will conduct the E15 million salary review exercise for the over 35 000 civil servants.

Interest

The Expression of Interest document can be obtained at the Ministry of Public Service, Ministry of Finance building at E300 fee, which should be paid at Mbabane Revenue Office, Account Number 41/2301/21132. The ministry pointed out that the consultant should have a high level of competency in the fields of Management Sciences, with specialised training in any of the three key areas of the assignment, namely, job evaluation, job grading and salary structure development. He or she must have 10 years proven experience in leading similar projects.

“The team should be well capacitated in management services with at least 10 years of involvement in organisational design and compensation. They should also have strong analytical skills and report writing with experience in research. The team should also be fluent in English and siSwati and be able to work with and facilitate diverse stakeholder groups,” states the invitation. After the shortlisting government as well as the PSUs secretariat will have to choose the best consultant for those who would be submitted by government.

Security

The process will also cover the job evaluation exercise, which might result in some job titles being scraped out or paired. The salary review exercise will go hand-in-hand with state security phase II salary restructuring exercise. Despite the progress of the much awaited exercise, the PSUs secretariat raised concerns over the period from the agreement at the JNF and the beginning of the tendering process. Chairperson of the PSUs secretariat Welcome Mdluli who is also SWADNU President said they were concerned about government’s snail pace in dealing with the issue. Mdluli stated that the government and PSUs concluded salary review talks in July.

He stated that it was agreed at the table that by October this year, the consultant should start working.  “Government undermines us because they were supposed to stick to the agreed period,” he said. Mdluli said they were crossing fingers that the delay by government would not delay the implementation, which was expected in the next financial year. Worth noting is that the last salary review was in 2016 and was conducted by LCC Capital consultant. The team leader was Enziwe Dube.  Some of the findings of that review were not implemented as a result they formed part of this year’s JNF. These included travelling and housing allowances.

Meanwhile, Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Public Service Sipho Tsabedze explained that the delay was caused by the process that they had to follow when issuing the tender. He said PSUs leaders were made aware of the process. He noted that as a ministry, they would not just leave the negotiations and start issuing a tender. Tsabedze also said the final date for the application was December 9, 2022, with the hope that by next year, the exercise would be at an advanced stage.

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