COSATU affiliated Trade Unions, POPCRU, SADTU, NEHAWU, DENOSA, SAMA, SAEPU and PAWUSA organizing in the Public Service have noted the decision by the Department of Public Service and Administration to release two very problematic circulars concerning the working conditions of workers. The department has released two circulars:
DPSA Circular No. 01 of 2019: “NOTICE OF A REDUCTION IN THE PERCENTAGE ALLOCATION OF REMUNERATION BUDGETS FOR THE PERFORMANCE BONUSES FOR ALL CATEGORIES OF EMPLOYEES WITH EFFECT FROM 1 APRIL 2019”
EARLY RETIREMENT WITHOUT PENALISATION OF PENSION BENEFITS IN TERMS OF SECTION 16(6) OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE ACT
The two issues have been under discussion at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) since February 2019. Labour at the PSCBC has raised a number of concerns around how the employer (DPSA and National Treasury) are proceeding with the processes despite the concerns raised by Labour.
ON THE REDUCTION OF PERFORMANCE BONUS
The employer has moved forward with unilateral implementation of reduction even after vehement opposition from Labour. The move is against the spirit of the Public Service Charter, which seeks to motivate public servant and improve service delivery. Furthermore, it is a gross reversal of hard-earned gains achieved through a collective agreement. Performance bonus payout was elevated to be benefits that need protection. COSATU will, therefore, amongst other initiatives declare a dispute on this matter
ON EARLY RETIREMENT WITHOUT PENALISATION OF PENSION BENEFITS IN TERMS OF SECTION 16(6) OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE ACT
Even after Labour has pronounced its disagreement with the process, the employer continues to unilaterally implement amid the negative implication of this move.
We have highlighted the following detrimental ramifications to this not so well thought out process:
– The implementation will not be exempted from tax; the employee’s pay-out shall be regarded as a once-off salary, and would place an employee on a higher tax bracket, which means more tax implications, thereby jeopardizing employee’s financial position;
– The employees will forfeit accrued leave days which will not be paid, as such shall not be paid out;
– The calculations will not include the future value at the normal retirement age of 60 or 65 years of projected annual salary adjustment and pay progression.
– The impact on service delivery; this will have a negative impact on service delivery as the employer is currently not filling vacant posts and shall not fill those posts that shall be vacated by those enticed to take early retirement;
– Lack of comprehensive human resource plan; the employer has failed dismally to present their plan to Council, inclusive of skills audit, the spread of targeted employees across various departments, etc.
The employer seems hell-bent on enticing employees to exit the Public Service, irrespective of the dire consequences to both the employees and the State. It is on that basis that Labour rejected the two impulsive proposals from the employer.
Labour reserves its right and shall consider all available options to stop this atrocious act by the employer.
Released on behalf of the COSATU Public Service Unions