NAPTOSA’s NEC met on 26 and 27 February 2018. The following statement is issued on a number of topical matters discussed:
MPSA’s unilateral actions
NAPTOSA condemns the Minister of Public Service and Administration’s (MPSA) recent unilateral actions.
It appears as if a cost saving “frenzy” has taken hold of government to such an extent that conventional labour practices, and the Minister’s own promises, to engage Labour on matters that affect employees, has been flung from the window.
It was expected that the Minister would table the early retirement matter in the PSCBC, but alas, she chose to issue a framework instead, without any consultation with Labour.
In a similar vein, the Minister announced a reduction, over the next 3 years, in the percentage of departmental budgets that may be utilized for the awarding of performance bonuses from the current 1, 5% to zero percent.
These actions of the Minister do not auger well for the future relationship between Labour and the State as employer.
Early Retirement Framework
NAPTOSA wishes to reiterate its deep concern that the early retirement packages announced by the MPSA could lead to a skills and knowledge drain that has the potential to cripple a sector like education.
The Minister’s attempt at allaying fears in this regard by saying “We will ensure that public servants with critical skills are not lost during this process” is small consolation, because there appears to be no provision for central oversight to control potential skills flight.
The envisaged process seems to leave it to individual departments to determine who leaves. Departments are under such financial pressures that they will in all likelihood not be too concerned whether skilled employees leave as long as they are able to balance the books.
NAPTOSA supports youth employment. We have, however, seen the pattern whereby departments, in order to effect savings, do not fill posts once they become vacant. We trust that the employer’s statement that they intend replacing those employees who opt for the early retirement package with members of the unemployed youth, is not merely a ruse.
The MPSA’s statement that the public service is not bloated, but that other factors contribute to the high wage bill, is noted. What NAPTOSA, however, finds mind boggling are the reasons then advanced by the Minister for the high wage bill, namely above inflation salary increases; unmanageable overtime; performance bonuses not in line with organisational performance; and top heavy organisational structures. It is as if the employer was not a party to wage agreements and as if the issues of overtime, performance bonuses and departmental structures were never within the employer’s control. Fascinating.
NAPTOSA is concerned about the envisaged run on the GEPF by employees opting for the early retirement packages. Whilst we know that the GEPF is stable, such a sudden large exit of employees could nevertheless have a substantial impact on the Fund. We trust that discussions had been held with the GEPF prior to the early retirement announcement to ensure that the GEPF can absorb the expected exit of members.
The statement by the Deputy Minister of Finance, and Chairperson of the Board of the PIC, before the Commission of Enquiry into the PIC, is nothing short of shocking. How can there be any trust in the PIC if the Chairperson acknowledges that”… the decision to invest in AYO completely and blatantly flouted PIC governance and approval processes”?
All those complicit in this bad decision must be brought to book.
NAPTOSA was therefore extremely pleased to learn that the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission has ordered the Directors of the PIC to recover the R 4,3b invested in AYO Technology Solutions. Hopefully the Commission has the requisite power to enforce such order.
TVET/ CET Colleges
NAPTOSA condemns the disruption of TVET/ CET Colleges.
Whilst it is acknowledged that a number of issues in the sector need urgent resolution, the current chaotic situation does not seem to bring matters any closer to resolution. It does, nonetheless, highlight why lecturers from these Colleges should fall within the scope of the Education Labour Relations Council where their issues can receive dedicated attention, rather than being part of a collective bargaining forum where their plight gets drowned out by those of many other groups.
NAPTOSA has informed the Director-General that its members are not on strike and that there should be no “no work, no pay” deductions for them. Despite the Department’s own industrial action policy in terms of which alternative work stations were to be provided by Colleges for those employees not on strike, NAPTOSA members have generally found such work stations non- existent.
Acknowledgement has been received from the Director-general that the matter is receiving the necessary attention.
Ongoing school violence
NAPTOSA deplores the ongoing violence in and around schools.
Since the beginning of this year we seem to have had more school violence and of a greater variety than ever before. Learner on learner, learner on teacher and teacher on learner violence are continuing unabated and now new forms of violence are rearing their heads – parents being killed outside schools, violent robbery attempts during school hours and attacks on members of the community by learners.
The violence is also taking on more serious proportions, where in many incidents, someone is killed. School violence has to stop. We need to urgently return to a situation where schools once again become safe environments. We urge the Department of Basic Education to do whatever is needed in this regard.
We wish to acknowledge the SAPS for prompt action in foiling some of these violent attacks and arresting perpetrators of acts of school violence.
The recent tragic events involving infrastructure of schools again highlighted how, for many years, this matter has received too little attention. Infrastructure maintenance cannot be left to School Governing Bodies who neither have the resources nor the expertise to fulfil this function. The NEC finds it deplorable that vast underspending of school infrastructure budgets still occur in some provinces.
NAPTOSA is concerned about attempts to undermine SACE and calls on management and political leaders to be decisive in combating these attempts.
NAPTOSA welcomes the promulgation of the election date and the announcement that Election Day is to be a national holiday.
We encourage our members and the public at large to vote. The right to vote does not come cheap. It has been hard fought for. Therefore use the opportunity to vote for a party that you believe will be able to take the country forward.
END OF STATEMENT
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Mr Basil Manuel (Executive Director) - 079 508 6228