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Officials explain reclassification

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There was a communication breakdown throughout the reclassification process, government officials have admitted.

At a press conference last week to address the questions that have been raised and the unrest that has evolved from the January implementation of the reclassification process, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Rural Transformation (ag), who also spearheaded the reclassification implementation, Nathaniel Williams, said better communication was needed.{{more}}

“Because some people are negatively affected, those persons will want to know prior to, what are the rationales,” Williams said.

He said that even if persons don’t agree with the outcome, they would have at least had a fair understanding of the process.

He said that communication was one of the areas in the process that wasn’t strong. A gross understatement, comments from the ground seem to suggest.

As he explained the outcome of the process, Williams, using graphs, showed the reality of the process that has hit home to many public servants.

The consultants found that when compared with each other, and even those in the private sector, compensation for persons on the lower end of the Public Service scale was on par.

The problem existed as you went higher in the public service; clearly showing what must have been common knowledge-highly skilled persons are better paid in the private sector than in the public sector.

“That is one of the reasons that in the public sector in St Vincent and other places you find that there is a movement out. As you move up the ladder, you move out of the Public Sector because it is more attractive to seek alternative employment,” Williams said.

Williams also noted that what were presented by the consultants were recommendations, and they were then evaluated by Cabinet, and certain changes and adjustments made.

This was particularly so as regards the movement upwards of some positions. Williams explained that the recommended move of some positions would have caused conflict, as the upward mobility may have created situations where a junior moves above a senior, which Government had a duty to avoid.

Furthermore, as regards the recommended salary scales, Williams said that Government had to consider the ability of the economy to cushion the increased payments as it decided what figures to adopt.

Budget Director Edmond Jackson listed the 11 persons that will form the appellate committee that will review concerns by public servants.

The committee is spearheaded by Director of Planning Laura Anthony-Browne, and includes Parnel Campbell QC, Marcelle Edwards John, Tyrone Burke, Saboto Caesar, Janice King, Nakeisha London, Hermia Scott, Jonathan Pitt and Joye Browne.

Appeals are to be stated in writing and channeled through the various unions.

Persons have until August 31 to file their appeals before the committee.

The officials also announced that a JETT (Job Evaluation Task Team) will be put in place to ensure that all future jobs created within the public service go through a meticulous scientific assessment, so as to determine where it should be placed in the employment grid.

Regarding communications with the unions, including the Teachers’ Union, the government leadership team said that discussions are continuing.

Last week the Teachers’ Union held a two day strike to protest the results of the reclassification process. (KJ)



Reclassification terms and phrases in layman’s terms

Reclassification Exercise– The process of valuing an employee’s job according to its worth.

Green Circled– When a position is worth more than the employee is currently being paid.

Red Circled– When an employee is being paid more than his/her position is worth.

Grade– The category an employee is placed in, according to qualification, skill and nature of the job.

Salary Band– The minimum and maximum amount that an employee within a particular grade can be paid.

Anomalies– This occurs when a position is graded too high or low on the hierarchical scale, based on its worth.

R1– When the value of a job is compared with a job of similar qualifications, levels of responsibility, and working conditions within the organization to ensure internal equity.

R2– where the value of jobs in the public service is compared with those in the private sector locally or in the region with similar qualifications, levels of responsibility and working condition.

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