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SRC employees accuse top brass of neglecting them in strategic plan

NATION REPORTERBy NATION REPORTER
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Commissioners and staff of the salaries agency appear to be reading from different scripts on the recently launched strategic plan.

While Salaries and Remuneration Commission employees maintain that there are ulterior motives to the plan, which they documented in a July 1 letter to the agency just days after its launch, SRC chairperson Lyn Mengich and the commissioners say the issues in dispute have been resolved.

“We launched the Strategic Plan on June 27. Subsequent to that, we had a joint management meeting with the staff and in fact we even had an external consultant,” Ms Mengich told the Sunday Nation.

STRATEGIC PLAN

“We took the employees through the structure and gave them an opportunity to ask questions. The workers raised a number of issues. We then had focus groups with every department taking them through the details. They were no issues thereafter.”

The workers interviewed, however, maintained that the matters they raised in their letter have not been addressed.

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The 2019-23 strategic plan abolishes the directorate of research, compliance, policy and planning position.

It instead sets out to merge the three directorates into two – the directorate of remuneration services, which will be in charge of research and other functions; and the directorate of corporate services.

In a letter to Ms Mengich and chief executive Anne Gitau, the employees complained about being kept in the dark about the new governance structure at the commission.

NEW JOB TITLES

According to the letter, the strategic plan came up with new job titles and left a number of employees technically missing in the structure.

The letter adds that such workers would be required to apply afresh in order to be absorbed into the new SRC job structure.

“At all times and leading to the launch of the strategic plan, the organisational structure capable of delivering the plan was not shared with the employees until the day of the launch,” the letter says.

The workers say the new organisational structure does not take into account internal and external stakeholders’ views unlike other chapters of the plan.

The letter hints at the possibility of mass layoffs.

“The decision to leave secretariat staff in the dark over the new organisational structure exhibits a lapse in trust of the commissioners towards the employees and this has caused panic and anxiety over what is impending,” it says.

The SRC workers also say the strategic plan does not provide for vertical growth and some titles like “messenger” have been brought back though they are not applicable in the civil service.

“This amounts to lowering the ranks of existing job holders,” the employees’ letter goes on.

INTERNAL AUDITORS

“Accountants, internal auditors and librarians have been renamed ‘assistants’, a nomenclature that denotes junior positions in the civil service. These are officers who have served the government for many years and such actions render them uncompetitive in the public sector labour market.”

The workers are also not happy with the decision to abolish the research, compliance, policy and planning docket and effectively make it a part of the directorate of remuneration services.

“The commission’s core mandate as espoused in the mission involves research. It is surprising that the former research directorate has now been reduced to a mere department/function in the directorate of remuneration services. The commission’s work is research-driven and this, in the view of the staff, should be given the required prominence as previously,” the letter says.

Ms Mengich said the issues contained in the letter “are no longer relevant”.

“We did these things in August. There were meetings with staff to address their concerns and my take is that the issues have been overtaken by events,” the SRC chairperson said.

It is not the first time SRC employees have complained to Ms Mengich and Ms Gitau about their welfare.

In December 2017, the workers wrote to the then chairperson to express dissatisfaction with the commission’s salary structure.