ISLAMABAD: The long awaited process to remove deadwood from the civil bureaucracy is ongoing following directions from the Prime Minister’s Office to implement announced policies.
A close aide to Prime Minister Imran Khan told The News that the PM’s Office had issued a directive to all ministries and divisions to start the weeding process. The source said that the ministries and divisions were asked to form a Pension Council and Pension Committee as stipulated in the rules and start processing cases according to the law based on material evidence.
It said the IHC’s recent ruling against those who oppose promotion rules has also helped with the early retirement of troubled civil servants.
All the kodal formalities have been completed by the PTI government to carry out this much needed task. Under the prevailing legal framework, those who have completed 20 years of service and are not fit to continue government service will retire prematurely, for which instructions for all ministries, divisions and other government agencies have been issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.
The reasons for early retirement have been identified and this includes officers who:
a) have received average performance evaluation reports (PERs, formerly known as ACRs) or negative comments have been recorded in three or more PERs from three different officers;
b) has twice been recommended for supersession by the Central Selection Board (CSB), the Departmental Selection Board (DSB) or the Departmental Promotion Board (DPB) or has not twice been recommended for promotion by the high power Selection Board and the recommendation has been approved by the competent authority competent;
c) have been found guilty of corruption or have bargained or voluntarily returned with NAB or other investigative agencies;
d) have had more than one chance to be placed in category ‘C’ by CSB, DSB or DPC under the Civil Service Promotion Rules (BS 18-21), 2019;
e) guilty of doing something inappropriate.
The pension board and pension committee have been notified. For early retirees of BS 20 Officers and above, there will be a retired committee consisting of the Chair of the FPSC who will be the chairman of the agency, while the members will be the secretary of the Cabinet Section, the Formation Section, the Finance, Legal and Justice Division and the Secretary / head of the division concerned.
For the early retirement of officials of BS 19 and below, the government has established a retirement committee. There will be various pension committees in each division or department to recommend to the competent authorities a directory of pensions from service with respect to civil servants in BS 19 and below.
The retirement committee for officers BS 17 to 19 will consist of a chairperson, who will be an additional or senior joint secretary of the division concerned; representatives from the Formation Division, Finance Division, Legal Division and the heads of departments or officials concerned.
The retirement committee for Civil Servants at BS 16 and below will consist of the Chairperson, who is the senior joint secretary or joint secretary of the division concerned, representatives from the Formation Division, Finance Division, Legal Division, and the head of the department / office concerned.
For the purposes of implementing this new scheme, all federal ministries and divisions have been directed to maintain a list of civil servants who have completed the designated years of service and fall into the category of those who are eligible for retirement.
This board and committee will pass on its recommendations to the competent authorities. If the competent authority agrees with the recommendation for a civil servant directory pension, it will issue a reason notification to the civil servant concerned, notify him of the proposed basis for making directives for directory pension, and will give him the opportunity to conduct a private hearing if requested by a civil servant who concerned.
The New Zealand nurses union was involved in a factional crisis
May 9, 2020
The faction war that took place within the New Zealand Nurses Organization (NZNO), the largest health sector union, has reached its peak with the sudden resignation of its elected president, Grant Brookes, and three of his supporters from the governing council.
Brookes and his supporters organized an online petition that would trigger a special union general meeting, to submit a vote of no confidence in the council and hold new elections for all 11 positions. Three former NZNO presidents have supported the call.
Last September, Brookes narrowly survived the vote at a special public meeting to remove him from office, based on the results of counterfeiting claim error. He lost confidence, reportedly at a 66 percent margin, at the second general meeting held in December.
The crisis erupted when nurses and other health workers, in New Zealand and internationally, experienced the burden of a courageous struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic. NZNO is also preparing another round of contract negotiations with the government, which will no doubt seek to extend effective freezing on the wages and conditions of nurses.
Hundreds of health workers have died of COVID-19 worldwide. In New Zealand, 155 health workers have so far been infected, accounting for around 11 percent of the 1,490 confirmed cases. Many nurses have warned that conflicting approaches by the district health council (DHB), and even within individual hospitals, endanger the safety of workers and patients. Many times complaints about inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies.
At Auckland’s Waitakere Hospital, 57 staff recently stepped down as a potential risk after three nurses tested positive. The nurse alleges that no protocol is available to prevent staff working with COVID-19 patients from contact with others.
This pandemic has described worsening conditions in hospitals, which triggered strikes in 2018-2019 by tens of thousands of nurses, junior doctors, laboratory assistants, radiographers, midwives and psychologists.
This dire condition is the result of decades of cuts and underfunding of the public health system by successive governments that have been put in place with trade union collaboration. The two NZNO factions, which for and against Brookes, were involved in pushing through the sale of workers during the 2018 contract dispute, which maintained a severe labor shortage and excessive workload for nurses.
Following a one-day national strike – the first to be endorsed by NZNO at a public hospital since 1989 – unions enforced government austerity measures, setting benchmarks for effective freezing of wages and conditions across the public sector. Brookes now easily leaves his position just as nurses face increasing attacks in the next round of contracts.
There is no fundamental difference between the NZNO factions. Brookes and his supporters represented bureaucratic sections who were worried that the union was now seen by most nurses as they were: government and DHB management tools that were truly hostile to their members. They are desperately trying to restore workers’ belief that unions can somehow be “democratized”.
Announcing his resignation, Brookes, a former member of the Fightback pseudo-left group and the Maori nationalist Mana Party, painted himself a victim of “shadow forces” in the NZNO apparatus. He claims that they have been trying to remove it since he was first elected in 2015 to stop it from turning NZNO into “an organization driven by membership,” and continues to do so.
According to Brookes, the council spent a quarter of a million dollars on legal bills that sought to expel him and “failed members” in the 2018 dispute. This “triggered the loss of key staff, led the first annual decline in membership in half a century and opened deep divisions within the organization.”
In a statement posted on the nationalists Daily blog on April 29, Brookes described the NZNO tool as “anti-democratic and shrouded in secrecy.” He pointed to constitutional provisions that would allow “non-elected” representatives to vote on behalf of as many as 15,000 members, “meaning only five representatives can make a ‘majority’ decision for all NZNOs.”
Brookes’ claim that he struggled to “democratize” unions was an attempt to rewrite history. He was an integral part of the bureaucracy and played a critical public role during the 2018 sale. He sided with the government, saying at a strike demonstration there was “some truth” to Labor’s claim that it could not immediately fix the health crisis. He supports the NZNO council when responding to online criticism by members threatening disciplinary action.
Deep opposition to the NZNO bureaucracy can be seen in the Facebook group “New Zealand, please listen to our voice,” which was established by nurses independently from trade unions during the 2018 wage fight. It has around 39,000 members.
One nurse shared details from published union financial statements that revealed that the salaries of the top nine full-time officials amounted to $ 1.2 million per year, that $ 1.5 million was spent on overseas travel in the last 12 months and that 154 staff were paid equally average of $ 45.10 per hour. When the coronavirus outbreak opened, nurses were furious to learn that membership fees would be raised by 1.9 percent, supposedly to meet the looming contract negotiation costs.
None of the competing NZNO factions has a principal opposition to the privileges of the bureaucracy, which has been their part for many years. They also did not develop any perspective to maintain the working conditions of nurses, including their safety during the COVID-19 crisis. Unions defended the Ardern government and subordinated health care to the requirements of capitalism.
Nurses, doctors, and others who are looking for ways to struggle need to seriously consider what is the way forward? Many nurses have begun to look for alternatives to NZNO. Some have joined rival New Zealand Nursing Society.
Brookes has asked nurses to follow him and take double membership in NZNO and the Public Service Association (PSA), the largest trade union in the country. His promotion to the PSA further exposed his fraudulent claims to represent rank workers.
In 2019, PSA tampered with a struggle by more than 3,000 junior doctors, members of the Permanent Physicians Association, against displacement by DHB to meet working conditions. The PSA, allied with the Trade Union Council (CTU), helped establish a rival union, which quickly approved the DHB clawback.
Following the 2008 global financial crisis, PSA played a major role in ensuring thousands of orderly redundancies in public services. PSA and CTU have welcomed Ardern’s multi-billion dollar “wage” scheme for business, which allows many people to cut wages by 20 percent or more.
Nurses looking for alternatives to NZNO need to be warned: the current stalemate cannot be resolved by replacing a set of “leaders,” a bureaucracy, or one union, for another. Those who claim that unions can be “democratized” or that there are alternative unions that they must follow, are looking to subordinate workers to the bureaucracy responsible for betrayal after betrayal.
Pro-capitalist trade unions ceased to be a genuine workers’ organization a few decades ago. They represent a privileged layer of the upper middle class, who work with big businesses and governments to suppress class struggle and force cuts in wages, layoffs and other attacks.
The defense of workers’ rights requires a revolt against trade unions and the formation of a new struggle organization: an independent workplace committee. This needs to coordinate joint industrial and political action by workers in the entire health sector and more broadly, in New Zealand, Australia and internationally, in opposition to Labor-led governments and all political institutions.
This struggle requires a new political program – for workers’ governments and socialist policies, including the redistribution of tens of billions of dollars from super rich people to rebuild the public health system.
PESHAWAR: National Assembly Member from Chitral Abdul Akbar Chitrali has called on the government to suspend Commissioner Malakand Riaz Mehsud and Deputy Commissioner Under Chitral Naveed Ahmed for reporting violations of the anti-coronavirus protocol.
In his speech at the press conference, MNA said that under the direction of the commissioners, five people including women gathered in a closed room on another day on behalf of the distribution of rations.
He said the government itself violated Article 144, which has been enforced in almost all countries to prevent transmission. He said people were observing social distance but the actions of the Malakand and Lower Chitral division administrators encouraged people to avoid social distance and violate Article 144.