I READ with joy but at the same time trepidation that the issues surrounding the SPBA will be resolved by next month.
I am delighted because the deputy prime minister has been quoted as saying that the prime minister "would give details on the format and how the scheme would be implemented". That the prime minister is prepared to do so underscores the seriousness and confidence of the government that the issues would be resolved in an amicable, just and transparent manner.
Why trepidation? It is not that the resolve of the government has never been stronger, but the very nature in which unions put forward the proposals and recommendations. Many a time, they have been found to be wanting – putting in proposals that only satisfy the majority of the voting members and that bring immediate benefits to themselves.
Here is a checklist for the review committee to scrutinise:
» Are Masters/PhD holders given a grade increase, or a few increments, or at the very least a promotional opportunity/advantage?
» In the case of teachers, does a relevant Masters/PhD qualification entail him/her to the post ofguru pendeta since this very word itself denotes knowledge/philosophy?
» Were the anomalies arising out of the last pay revision (where non-graduates got a 30-35% salary hike compared to only 10-15% for non-graduates) addressed? This issue is especially pertinent to newly-promoted graduates who found themselves getting salaries lower than their non-graduate counterparts.
» Now that even most primary school teachers have degrees, should not the experience of teachers with primary school experience be taken into account in its entirety? (Only three years of their primary school experience is counted.)
» Will those who made special contributions or are resourceful, such as speakers and trainers, be given special incentives, promotional opportunities or pay increases? For teachers, this includes those who sacrifice their holidays and demonstrate their commitment (and expertise) in marking public examination papers.
The government servants mentioned above make up only a minority in the civil service. Their voices are hardly heard. Any salary increase they get won't cost a bomb as they are a small group. But their morale will be boosted and the rewards to the civil service will be immeasurable.
Source: theSundaily Letters 5 March 2012