SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS ARISING OUT OF THE REPORT FOR GRADES 1 – V
(1) Basic Minimum Public Sector Wage
i) Review triennially and maintain, with no more than a two year lag, the mid-point wage of the lowest paid full-time employee at the higher of: -
(a) a factor of per capita income, or
(b) a factor of the basic living wage ie. enough to meet the essentials of basic living.
ii) Direct the Department of Statistics to identify and periodically update and monitor: -
(a) the basic optimal food nutrition basket for healthy living for individuals of different gender and stages of life and for the typical household;
(b) the basic consumption expenditure basket for life-line existence (at the poverty line) for select typical households and for the average household; and
(c) household size and structure;
and to make these data available as public information.
iii) Put policies in place to control these basic food nutrition and household expenditure basket costs, as far as possible, but using established market mechanisms, even through the use of zero rating on taxes and/or cross-subsidization (as in the case of utility pricing).
2. Public Sector Wage Structure
i) Establish a public sector salary compensation structure with the following features:
(a) a salary compensation ratio of no more than 1:15 between the lowest and highest gross compensation packages in the public sector;
(b) a grade scale structured such that there is: -
i. a minimum basic midpoint of say, 100 points;
ii. a 12.5% difference between the midpoints of grades;
iii. a 15% range within each grade such that there is 7.5% plus or minus around its midpoint;
iv. a 2.5% increment in each grade; and
v. a compensation scale that uses the grade above but with the possible use of either a flat rate for points as would derive from a normative scale or different incremental amounts at various inflexion points to conform either to parameter (a) above and/or to maintain salary competitiveness with the market, particularly for scarce skills.
3. Macro-Economic Management Parameters
i) The Government should try to maintain the following economic management parameters:
a. Economic Growth: at least 3.5% p.a.
b. Revenue/GDP: 25% - 28%
c. Current fiscal a/c, surplus/GDP: at least 4%
d. Total Debt (appropriately defined)/GDP: 45% - 55%
e. Gross Wages/Total Recurrent Expenditure: 35% - 40%
f. Grade 1 – 5 Wages/Total Wages: (to be determined)
g. PSIP/GDP of at least 12%; and
h. An Incremental Capital Output Ratio (ICOR) of no more than 5.0
ii) The Government should not commence wage negotiations with any labour bargaining unit if, for any two successive years:
a. Economic Growth is less than 2%;
b. Current fiscal a/c/GDP is less than 1.5%;
c. Total Debt (appropriately defined)/GDP is greater than 60%; and
d. Central Government wage bill is more than 40% of total recurrent expenditures.
iii) Salary increases should be negotiated around a mutually pre-determined factor times (say 55% of) the change in per capita income increases between salary review periods.
iv) Salaries should be reviewed/revised every three years except where the conditions at (ii) above have not been met.
v) Establish a National Social and Economic Consultative Body chaired by the Prime Minister and comprising high level and influential representatives of the private sector, labour unions, other social partners and government to: -
a. triennially agree on a Social Contract;
b. annually, prior to the budget:
i. review economic performance and prospects;
ii. discuss social and economic issues, opportunities and collaborative approaches to address issues and exploit opportunities; and
iii. be informed of major actions by any partner that may affect other partners and/or the economy as a whole and that may conflict with the Social Contract, and seek and agree on amicable resolutions to apparent potential and latent conflicts.
3. The Body could be advised and serviced by the Economic and Physical Planning Unit Department which should be in the Office of the Prime Minister
vi) Take whatever steps are necessary to: -
a. Prevent the recurrence of the anomalies problem which has arisen because bureaucrats were allowed to create jobs for which they did not have the authority.
b. Revitalize the Auditor General’s Department and the Public Accounts Committee so that their reports could be timely, thorough and comprehensive to ensure that bureaucratic breaches of policies, procedures, and regulations are quickly brought to attention and the necessary sanctions applied to prevent recurrences of such breaches.
4. Enhancing Management and Worker Productivity
The only sustainable solution to the State’s ability to remunerate its workers with competitive wages is to dramatically enhance the productivity of management and labour. This is an involved and long run process but its commencement must be now. The following are some of the measures in the areas of organizational restructuring, systems analysis, process reviews and training that we recommend for immediate implementation.
i) Establish a well staffed and competent Organization and Management Department in the central government to undertake and have full responsibility for organizational restructuring; system reviews; process reengineering; documentation of manuals; job evaluations, reclassifications, specifications and descriptions; and training.
ii) Seek assistance from CARICAD to undertake a thorough and comprehensive review of the public service to streamline its structure and functions for optimum efficiency and functionality.
iii) Structure and/or remunerate the services to reflect their priorities, complexities, the competitive environment eg. police and nursing services;
iv) Prepare and keep current a directory of academic, technical and professional skills available in the central government.
v) Engage a competent and professional consulting firm to:
a. undertake a proper scientific job evaluation and classification exercise for the central government to properly evaluate, describe, specify, classify and remunerate positions based on internal and external comparators. The exercise should take into account the requirements for, and weights to be assigned to academic and professional training, practical experience, interpersonal skills and attributes; job complexity; the level of accountability and responsibility and the position’s value added to the central government;
b. train central government staff in the rationale, application and continuation of the implementation of the various systems.
vi) Exercise more rigour in:
a. the selection of candidates for positions by, inter alia, paying more attention to attitudes, character and interpersonal skills, particularly in jobs that interface with the public;
b. performance and attitude monitoring during the probationary period;
c. enforcing and improving the quality, objectivity and impact of performance appraisals;
d. setting job standards, performance targets and benchmarks and making officers more accountable for the deliverables associated with the jobs for which they are paid.
vii) Pay a lot more attention to, and provide more resources for, training in the public sector and shift the government’s attention from the financing of academic and professional training (which should be the individual’s responsibility and for which other financing facilities and avenues are available) and focus more training on the practical aspects of the jobs such as: -
a. What is the job and what are the activities to be performed?
b. Who should be involved in performing these activities and how should they be performed?
c. When and in what circumstances and situations must the various activities be performed?
d. Where are they to be performed? and, most importantly,
e. What are the reasons for the job and its activities and the positive impacts of performing them well or vice versa; and
f. Job ethics, people interaction skills and customer relations, care, and service principles and techniques.
The focus on practical training is essential if the public service is to provide the quantity and quality of service expected. It should be noted that the public sector is the largest employer in the country and that its service standards contribute significantly to the standards of the society as a whole. Moreover, limited and poor service translates to a cost to the productive sectors and, hence a reduction in the overall competitiveness of the economy.
5. Salary Increases and Anomaly Adjustments
i) Classification of all central government jobs into three groups: -
Established which would include positions that are included in the civil establishment and whose payment periods and frequency of payment would be monthly;
Temporary workers, mainly teachers, who act in established positions where the incumbent is on some form of leave for an extended period and whose payment periods and frequency of payment are monthly; and
Non-established including casual, ad hoc, vacation and special assignments and working in non-established positions with hour or day being the unit of time for measuring their efforts and frequency of payments being either at the end of the assignment, fortnightly and (rarely sometimes) monthly.
ii) Classification of all jobs that are currently listed as non-established distinguished between those that are temporary, genuinely non-established ie. casual, ad hoc, vacation and special assignments etc. and the rest.
iii) Classification of persons in “the rest” group by:
a) period employed: 0-3 yrs., 3-5 yrs., over 5 yrs.
b) qualifications: qualified, need up to 2 years to qualify, need more than 2 years to qualify.
c) gainfully employed: fully occupied, up to 80% occupied; below 80% occupied.
d) worker attitude & punctuality: excellent, very good/good, fair and below.
iv) Jobs should be made established positions where the incumbents are fully gainfully employed for at least three (3) years with prospects for medium to long term need for the job.
v) Persons who have been employed for 5 years and over should be retained in the service and given appropriate established positions when these become available. If they are not qualified, government should facilitate their training at its expense but should give them up to 3 years to qualify.
vi) Other unqualified workers with good worker attitude and punctuality who have been employed for between 3-5 years should be given:
a) severance pay due;
b) free tuition for up to 2 years to do the CXC or for one year to pursue a special programme of skills training at the Skills Training Centre; and
c) placement on a short list for possible public sector employment.
vii) Persons who are qualified for filling positions in the central government establishment should be given priority for central government established employment if their worker attitude and attendance is ranked good and above.
viii) Others from the above should be given severance pay due and up to six months free training at the Skill Training Centre.