Appointments in the Public Service

The questions regarding the appointment of temporary officers: what have been the challenges in trying to resolve the issue? 

Appointments were always on the unions agenda for more than 20 years. During the past general secretary tenure he would have submitted proposals for persons to be appointed. However, he was unsuccessful. Appointments in the past were solely done based on seniority.  At that time the only concerns the union had was making sure that they were enough positions and that persons were appointed in a timely manner.

However, the last government brought to the house in 2007 the public service act, and all of that changed.  In summary ,section 13 of the act states that persons who were temporary for more than 3 continuous years up until December 2007 should be appointed.  Persons who would not have met this requirement were subject to the recruitment and employment code which meant that persons  would only be appointed by going through a process of competitive selection.  More importantly all positions had to be advertised and they had to apply for the post.  The act also stated that a post should not remain vacant for more than 1 year.

There were many problems faced with the act:-

There were more people eligible for appointments than they were vacant post to accommodate them.  Therefore, some workers had to wait until they were vacancies before post were filled. The union would have recommended that supernumerary post be created so that persons would not lose their seniority. 

All workers who did not fit the criteria of having 3 consistent years before 2007 had to be interviewed.  Which meant on many occasions that the most senior person did not receive the position.  This was a major problem since workers complained about the integrity of the interview process and the long time that it took to fill posts.

For example, we had an officer who would have been acting for several years supervising workers.  Interviews were called she attended the interview and was unsuccessful in getting the post, and had to revert to her substantive post.  To make matters worse the person  who she was supervising was promoted and was now supervising her.  This happened on many occasions thoughout the public service and caused many people to resign or feel uncomfortable in their working environment.

The union always pointed to the fact that it was not the workers fault that posts were not filled in a certain time period as stated in the act (post should not remain vacant for more than 1 year). However, what the act does not say is that the person who is working in post should automatically be appointed in the post. Although I still believe it was implied.

The union submitted to the government as part of its salary negotiations that  all temporary or acting officers who were working for more than 3 years continuous service should be appointed without having to go through a selection process.  

The government gave the union what we requested in the recent financial statements and budgetary proposals, and with the establishment of 555 public sector posts that were temporary.

Therefore, it does not matter now if you were in the public service before 2007.  Also, it means that post would have to be created for all of those officers who were acting in temporary post.  In essence, all public officers will be appointed once you fit the criteria.

That would be the entire public service practically because a lot of temporary officers who had 3 years or less in the public service were sent home during the last retrenchment process – where more than 3000 pubic servants went home.

The Nupw Executive had two main mandates – appointments and salary increases for public servants.  

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