Covid-19: Civil ser­vice re­duces staff on duty to 15pc

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Mukudzei Ching­were Her­ald Re­porter

WITH the rise in Covid-19 cases, the Govern­ment has or­dered min­istries to have just 15 per­cent of their staff on duty at any one time, but the rest stay­ing at home on standby and be­ing avail­able to help cope with surges in work and be­ing given more work to do at home.

Units that pro­vide es­sen­tial ser­vices will have higher per­cent­ages of staff on duty.

The thin­ning of staff on duty will boost safety, mak­ing it far eas­ier to en­force so­cial dis­tanc­ing and other pro­to­cols to min­imise risk of in­fec­tions.

The Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (PSC) has di­rected that only 15 per­cent must be at their work sta­tions but those who re­main at home have been or­dered to be on standby, re­main in the towns and cities they are em­ployed and be ready to be called in to pro­vide help if the 15 per­cent of staff on duty is over­whelmed.

With an es­ti­mated 300 000 pub­lic ser­vants, Govern­ment is the big­gest em­ployer and an es­ti­mated 45 000 have been rec­om­mended to re­port for work, which will sub­stan­tially re­duce the num­ber of those com­ing to work.

“We want 15 per­cent of the pub­lic ser­vice to be at their re­spec­tive work­places. We want to de­con­gest the work­places. Oth­ers will be on call and might be told to re­port for duty if those at work are over­whelmed or need to rest,” said PSC Sec­re­tary Am­bas­sador Jonathan Wutawu­nashe.

“It is not ev­ery min­istry where it is pos­si­ble, where there are es­sen­tial ser­vices that you can­not man­age with 15 per­cent but those are ex­cep­tions.”

Am­bas­sador Wutawu­nashe said the safety of work­ers was a pri­or­ity and mea­sures to pro­tect the pub­lic ser­vants would con­tinue to be re­viewed.

He said as they pro­tected their work­ers, they would not negate the pro­vi­sion of es­sen­tial ser­vices, which are needed by the pub­lic or can­not af­ford to be put on hold.

“The Govern­ment is mind­ful of the safety of its work­ers and as such it con­tin­ues to re­view the sit­u­a­tion re­lat­ing to Covid-19, which at the mo­ment seems to be es­ca­lat­ing in terms of in­ci­dents of lo­cal in­fec­tions.

“It is there­fore im­por­tant for the

Govern­ment to con­tinue re­view­ing mea­sures that pro­tect the work­ers. While we con­tinue to af­firm that, es­sen­tial ser­vices must be pro­vided to the cit­i­zenry at the same time, the Govern­ment has taken the strate­gic role to re­duce the num­ber of civil ser­vants re­port­ing for duty at work sta­tions to re­duce the risk of ex­po­sure.”

Am­bas­sador Wutawu­nashe said the po­si­tion had al­ready been com­mu­ni­cated to all the min­istries and had coun­selled the min­istries to in­vest in tech­nol­ogy so that those at home can re­main use­ful dur­ing this cri­sis.

“The Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion has sent out a cir­cu­lar an­nounc­ing to all heads of min­istries that they needed to fur­ther re­duce quite dras­ti­cally the num­ber those com­ing to work, and to en­sure that those who are at home are work­ing,” he said.

At the di­rec­tive of Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa, the Govern­ment is pay­ing salary in­creases of 50 per­cent and the tem­po­rary US$75 monthly Covid-19 re­lief al­lowances, while wait­ing for the com­ple­tion of ne­go­ti­a­tions on salary ad­just­ments.

Am­bas­sador Wutawu­nashe said the ne­go­ti­a­tions will con­tinue, adding that the Govern­ment’s po­si­tion was to take care of its staff, which in­cludes those who get sick or in­fected by Covid-19 in the line of duty.

“The pro­vi­sion of es­sen­tial ser­vices can­not be stopped, and the Govern­ment is very ap­pre­cia­tive of the ded­i­ca­tion that the work­ers have shown. Govern­ment would like to thank its em­ploy­ees sin­cerely for the ef­fort.

“For its part Govern­ment con­tin­ues to sup­port the liveli­hoods of its work­ers in­clud­ing the salary grant while await­ing the usual ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Govern­ment and its worker rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“Govern­ment has come up with mea­sures that sup­port any worker who falls ill in the line of duty,” said Am­bas­sador Wutawu­nashe.

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