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Is there Compensation Management in the Public Service?

Is there Compensation Management in the Public Service?


Dear Editor,

When one hears of the disputes between Governments and a) Guyana Public Service Union, b) Guyana Teachers’ Union respectively, one has to wonder about the lack of sympathy of the former, who in the same breath endorses GAWU’s settlements of remuneration packages’ in new Collective Agreements.

In any context ‘Remuneration” means more than just ‘Salary’. It implies the respective amounts bargained and agreed for the full collection of employees i.e. professional to unskilled. While in the Private Sector organisations it is not normal to bargain compensation packages, the more competent consultants would be expected to utilize certain principles of establishing logical relativities. Nevertheless, while such skills would have obtained in some public sector organizations, the fact is that the current compensation structure for Public Servants was established in 1999 by the Consultancy Peat Marwick Mc Lintock, possibly unknown to any current authority.

The most ambitious union leadership speaks of increasing (defunct) salary scales. There is hardly substantive reference, on increasingly changing ‘job contract’ and consequently ‘job values’. There is minimal reference to the relationship to increased training and improved qualifications and experiences for example how does one reconcile the use of advanced technology with the perennial descriptor of ‘Clerk/Typist’ to ‘Typist/Clerk’?

Similarly, in the next breath “performance Appraisals’ is unmentionable, as there is no increment in the alleged salary scale that is utilized in recognition either for the year’s performance or for promotion. There has been only annual increases impersonally awarded not necessarily every year of the last three decades.

Then one wonders how ‘acting allowance’ is complicated, for example, in the cases of Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice and Justices respectively, is it pensionable, accountable for NIS contributions? The fact is that ‘scales’ constitute a most prevalent fiction in the life of the Public Servant.

The ‘unmentionable is known to the more informed as ‘Bunching’. It means that the employee remains at the same stage in his/her assigned scale as a direct result of the compulsive ‘annual increases’.

In brutal terms, unless promoted/transition, who start at the minimum, beholds a future at the minimum, accompanied by new appointees at the same level. All administrations have been proud of such consistency, or is it constipation from the Union’s perspective. Both parties however, seem resolved not to compare notes with their CARICOM partners where our government is leading in infrastructure performance.

It is within this compensation environment that the pensionable public servants succumbs to the preferential treatment  brazenly dispensed to preferred ‘Contracted Employee’, without discussion between Government and Opposition, or without query from any union.

But after all the fulmination it would be appropriate for the GPSU to seek authentic comparability of employment conditions between respective levels of a) permanent and b) contracted public servants in the alleged categories below:

  1. Administrative
  2. Senior Technical

iii.     Other Technical & Craft Skilled

  1. Clerical and Support Staff
  2. Semi-Skilled and Unskilled Operatives

Except that all the parties will have to agree to invite Peat Marwick Mc Lintock to redefine the new job categories in this internationally oriented technological world, then apply new job values in this Oiled Economy.

In the process account will have to be taken of

  1. a)    Years of Service
  2. b)   Applicability of Qualifications
  3. c)    Leave Conciliation
  4. d)   Leave Passage Allowance
  5. e)    Transportation
  6. f)     Housing Allowance
  7. g)    Gratuity
  8. h)   Pension
  9. i)     Medical Insurance
  10. j)     Safety/Protection Allowance
  11. k)   Other Union Issues – Performance Appraisal, debunching etc.

Yours sincerely,

E. B. John