Dozens of government employees who had been laid off by what the National Union of Public Workers suggested were over zealous department heads, have been taken back.
Acting General-Secretary, Roslyn Smith, told a media conference this morning that the postal workers who recently informed the union they were terminated, had since been rehired. Smith said the same workers did not have any letters from management to back up the lay offs.
She said too that the Ministry of Transport and Works had also withdrawn recent letters of termination. It is not certain the exact number of workers who had been identified, but in the case of the postal employees, a figure of at least 40 had been reported.
Asked how many Government workers could be affected by any possible layoffs, Smith said she was unable to provide a true figure. However, added numbers of between 3,000 and 6,000 were being “bandied about”.
She and union President, Walter Maloney, agreed though that more accurate data on this was expected once the ongoing analyses of the various Government departments were completed by the end of this month.
“On the day that these things (budgetary cost-cutting measures) were announced, some senior public servants took it upon themselves to hold the sword of Damocles over the heads of some public servants,” declared Maloney.
“We have had reports where persons were told that they would be going home. There are persons acting that would have been curtailed; all along, some of these same senior public servants did not have the authority to so do.”
That, he said, the union had to clarify during a meeting with the Prime Minister, the Chief Personnel Officer and the permanent secretary in the Ministry of the Civil Service.
“This exercise is being managed by the chief personnel officer and her department. It is not the liberty of any permanent secretary nor head of department to issue, or to tell any person verbatim, that their services are no longer required,” the union president declared. “We had instructed our members before embarking on any action whatsoever, the directive must come from the chief personnel officer; and that is the authority responsible for the hiring of persons in the public service, and so that would also be the department responsible for the dismissing of officers as well.”
Maloney insisted that the NUPW would therefore have been acting irresponsible if it had “gone out there and started making wild statements without first ascertaining what it is that was happening, how do we proceed and how do we address this situation”.
He condemned people who had either written in the print media or spoken on the call-in programmes suggesting the union had been “soft” on the Government regarding the “pending layoffs”. (EJ)