3.1 In this Chapter, we elaborate on the Approach and Methodology adopted for the preparation of this Report. In the main, we have not departed from the broad strategy adopted for the previous Reports save that we have improved in organising ourselves to gather maximum information in a planned and systematic manner while maintaining openness and a consultative approach towards all stakeholders.
3.2 The challenging economic situation, Government’s reform initiatives and the rising expectations of our large customer base (comprising 20 Ministries,
55 Departments/Divisions, 86 Parastatal Organisations, nine Local Authorities, the Rodrigues Regional Assembly, 109 Private Secondary Schools and 300 Staff Associations) covering some 83,000 employees and 23,000 pensioners have impacted immensely on our methodology to fish for, probe into, and analyse information and data collected.
3.3 Before embarking on the Report, we organised our technical resources as desk officers and in groups (panels). They have been inspired to be always on the alert to find out, examine and classify relevant information from various sources including the media (both written and audio) and to carry out research through the net on specific issues to be covered in the Report. This was followed by focused brainstorming on relevant topics. Through this strategy, which is an on-going process, our technical staff produced valuable inputs for the agenda of consultative meetings with stakeholders and for decision taking.
3.4 We also:
Ø sought for basic information and updated our records regards the vision, mission and objectives of the respective organisations as well as the organisation charts, staff lists and Conditions of Service
Ø planned carefully the consultation programmes with all our stakeholders to ensure that everybody was given appropriate and timely hearing
Ø conducted a series of surveys to obtain relevant information to update our job data bank, and on Conditions of Service to gauge the effectiveness of our past recommendations and reform initiatives
Ø had a fresh look at our job evaluation schemes to ensure their current validity, assessed the jobs and used the job ratings as one of the determinants to fix salaries
3.5 Consultations with Staff and Management provided a platform to share views prior to decision making and an opportunity to obtain first hand information on working practices, procedures and work-life experiences.
3.6 At the very outset, the Chief Executives and Heads of Public Sector Organisations were given details of the procedures to be adopted in the conduct of the review, and their collaboration and cooperation were sought.
3.7 In the first instance, meetings were held with the main employees’ federations, namely the Federation of Civil Service and Other Unions, the State Employees Federation, the Federation of Parastatal Bodies and Other Unions, the Mauritius Trade Unions Congress, the Mauritius Labour Congress and the Federation of Progressive Unions to discuss Conditions of Service and other general issues like Pension, Retirement, Performance Management and Training.
3.8 All the Unions indistinctly and every individual staff member who had expressed the desire to depone were convened and given the opportunity to make their case to a panel comprising the Director, the Deputy Director and members of the Technical Staff or to a representative panel of the Bureau. Members of the different Federations generally accompanied their affiliates during those meetings. In a few instances parties were accompanied by their legal adviser.
3.9 Subsequently, meetings were held with management of all organisations. Representatives of the Ministry of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms (MCSAR) attended all these meetings. The representatives of parent Ministries also attended hearings with Parastatal and other Statutory Bodies and Local Authorities under their jurisdiction. Union members who were also present for part of these meetings were given maximum information and explanation on the merits and demerits of their proposals. Their views were solicited on pertinent issues and they were sounded for acceptable options for inclusion in the Report.
3.10 On the whole, the representations from the staff side related to:
Ø claims for better salaries
Ø improvements in Conditions of Service
Ø creation of additional levels or merger of grades
Ø payment of allowances
Ø provision for training
Ø grant of special privileges and incremental credits
Ø upgrading of qualifications
Ø mode of appointment (selection or promotion)
3.11 They also highlighted their concern regarding impact of new technologies and implementation problems relating to past recommendations.
3.12 On the other hand, Management submissions related principally to:
Ø redesign of organisation structures
Ø introduction of the total reward systems
Ø conditions of service specific to their respective organisations
Ø attracting and retaining talents
Ø performance management system and training programmes
Ø public sector management reforms
3.13 All the representations and submissions were carefully analysed and views and opinions put forward have been considered in the formulation of the recommendations of this Report.
Job Description Writing
3.14 All the job descriptions falling under our purview had to be updated. Given the large number of jobs that had to be surveyed at one time (hence the number of job descriptions to be written), the geographical dispersion of incumbents and the limited resources of the Bureau, we conducted the exercise using a job description questionnaire, designed to suit the diverse groups of employees in the Public Sector and to obtain all relevant data essential for evaluation purposes.
3.15 As it was neither possible nor desirable to cover all the 83,000 Public Sector employees, we selected, using the stratified sampling method, at least 10% of the working population in each grade, for the job description writing exercise. However, where the establishment size was small, discretion was used to sample a greater number of employees so as to obtain a complete picture of the job and a thorough knowledge about the duties. The job description questionnaires, together with instructions and guidelines, were sent to the selected jobholders inviting each of them to fill in his job description and thereafter, have it vetted by his immediate supervisor. The selected jobholders could also obtain assistance by telephone or personal contact from the technical staff of the Bureau.
3.16 As regards grades in the Workmen’s Group, the job incumbents were interviewed at the PRB or their worksites by officers of the Bureau and the job description questionnaires filled in.
3.17 The duly filled in Job Description Questionnaires were examined at the Bureau to ensure completeness regarding jobs’ functions, relationships to other jobs, the essential tasks and working conditions among others. It was, also, ascertained that the questionnaires were duly signed by jobholders and vetted by the respective immediate supervisors.
3.18 Officers of the Bureau personally contacted jobholders and supervisors to clarify ambiguous points and omissions.
3.19 The Bureau also used a survey strategy to collect required data from the sizeable population of the Public Sector. Appropriate questionnaires were designed to collect the required information. The surveys conducted were on the introduction/implementation of Flexible Hours of Attendance to combat tardiness; Sick Leave; Communication Facilities; Task Work; Part-Time working; Travelling by car; Training and Staff Development; Recruitment and Retention; Budget, Personnel and other related issues.
3.20 The results of the survey were summarised and analysed using statistical methods. Patterns/trends that evolved were essential to gauge the effectiveness of our previous recommendations and identify underlying causes of impediments. These were helpful to address omissions and flaws and to bring necessary improvements.
3.21 Formal site visits were effected by officers of the Bureau whenever it was deemed necessary and also at the request of Management or Staff to take cognizance of working conditions and environment, the customs and traditions of the workplace, work process changes, and the effect of new technologies. These site visits were very instructive and valuable for the review exercise. Employees openly expressed their satisfaction to such initiatives.
Visit to Rodrigues
3.22 A visit to the Island of Rodrigues was organised for consultations with Unions and Management and for the conduct of surveys and job analysis.
3.23 A technical team comprising Survey Officers led by a Job Analyst went to the Island mainly to conduct job surveys. Some 110 officers were interviewed and their job descriptions written. Site visits were made to take cognizance of distinctive features related to the set up and working conditions.
3.24 Another team comprising the Director, Deputy Director and a Principal Job Analyst and two representatives of the MCSAR were in Rodrigues for consultations with Staff and Management. Preliminary meetings were held with the Island Chief Executive and other Senior Staff of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly to explain the details of the programme.
3.25 All the unions – Rodrigues Government Employees Association (RGEA), the Rodrigues Public Service Workers Union (RPSWU) and the Government Servants Association and every individual who wished to depone were given the opportunity to make their case viva voce before the panel chaired by the Director. Members of the Federation of Civil Service and other Unions and the State Employees Federation were present while their affiliates deponed.
3.26 Subsequent meetings were held with Management and Heads of Departments in presence of representatives of the MCSAR. Members of the Unions attended these meetings when matters relating to structural changes were discussed.
3.27 Jobs were assessed using the point rating system on the basis of the job descriptions and official schemes of service.
3.28 Both the existing Manual and Non-Manual Job Evaluation Schemes were revisited to ensure their current validity. The benchmark grades were assessed using the revised schemes to ensure that the relevant job characteristics matched with the existing compensating factors. Where necessary, the factors in the job evaluation schemes were redefined to evolve and build up the desired benchmark hierarchy of grades.
3.29 Following the publication of each PRB Report, unions manifest their dissatisfaction with regard to the ranking order of jobs established through job evaluation. With a view to avoiding similar criticism and to ensuring unions’ participation, the Bureau, as for the previous Reports/Reviews, provided Staff Associations with a list of benchmark grades and benchmark hierarchies. They were invited to submit their views and comments thereon and the pattern they would wish to see emerged in terms of ranking order. However, it is a matter of regret that there has been again no response on this crucial part of the exercise.
3.30 On the other hand, Federations in general expressed the wish for their affiliates to depone separately. This is understandable as in many instances, one affiliate would argue that the grades it represents should be pegged higher than those represented by other affiliate/s within the same Federation. Evidently, had the different affiliates attended the same meeting, executive members of the Federation would have found themselves in embarrassing situations not knowing which side to take.
3.31 Moreover, even when the various Federations attended meetings called by the Bureau to discuss major issues, they could rarely come up as a united front with a consensus.
3.32 The Bureau expects that over time Federations would be able to convince their affiliates to come up with reasonable and non-contradictory submissions as well as to reach consensus in respect of important issues.
3.33 Notwithstanding the absence of views spelt out at paragraph 3.29, the revised job evaluation schemes were then validated and finalised, and the remaining grades under review assessed. The job evaluation exercise was then carried out by panels, composed of technical staff of the Bureau. The job rating results of the panels were subsequently controlled by a supervisory team to ensure accuracy and consistency in the application of evaluation criteria/factors.
3.34 The total job scores i.e. job content and qualification ratings of entry grades have been used as basis to determine the salary grading for the jobs. For promotional grades, in addition to the job content scores, the position in their respective hierarchies, and such other requirements as additional qualifications, specialised skills, competencies and experience were also taken into consideration to arrive at the recommended salary level. Moreover, grades on shift work, roster and staggered hours have been compensated by way of additional increments in the respective salary scales.
Master Salary Scale
3.35 We have maintained our previously adopted policy to have a single master salary scale for all employees on time scales. A single master salary scale provides the basis for a harmonised salary structure and facilitates salary administration.
3.36 Taking into account the current master salary scale, we have designed a new one with appropriate modifications to cater for the different compensation factors and to ensure harmony in pay increases. The master salary scale is given hereunder:
Rs6250 x 175 – 6600 x 200 – 10200 x 250 – 11700 x 300 – 13800 x 400 – 15000 x 500 – 16000 x 600 – 23200 x 800 – 28000 x 1000 – 30000 x 1250 – 50000 x 1500 – 56000 x 2000 – 70000
3.37 Relevant segment of the master salary scale has been worked out for each group of grades after considering the evaluation results, the number of levels within the relevant hierarchy and where applicable, the salary of the source grade while rationalising the length and width of scales.
3.38 Salary scales between two levels in a given hierarchy have been, as far as possible, marked by a difference of three incremental points to reflect the promotion aspect and higher responsibilities.
3.39 The grant of annual increments (the rules for progression have been lengthily dealt with in Chapter 18.9) acknowledges the increasing experience and performance of job holders over time. The pay rates at the top of the salary scale represent a target and incentive for those at lower levels, and in future, should be for recognition of acquired experience, sustained performance and loyalty of staff.
Presentation of the Report
3.40 The Report is presented in two main Volumes viz.: Volume I – General Background and Related Issues and Conditions of Service and Volume II –
Part I: Civil Service; Part II: Parastatal and Other Statutory Bodies and the Private Secondary Schools; Part III: Local Authorities and Part IV: Rodrigues Regional Assembly.
3.41 As regards the Civil Service (Volume II Part I), the grades have been placed by hierarchy in their respective Ministries/Departments/Organisations. Generally, the grades of the Senior Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary have been included in appropriate Ministries, to reflect the operational position as the Responsible Officer. As for grades of the specialised cadres like Finance, Personnel, and those of the General Services, although the incumbents service the various Ministries/Departments our recommendations in their respect are found under their responsible Ministry only.
3.42 A separate Chapter in Volume II Part I deals with the Workmen’s Group, on account of the large number of grades in this group and the specificity of certain conditions related to them. However, the recommendations on pay have been made under the respective responsible Ministries/Departments/Organisations.
3.43 As regards salary coding, we have maintained the same system, as in the 2003 PRB Report, using a six-digit code. The first set of two digits indicates a classification on the basis of the nature of work. The second and the last sets of two digits indicate the initial and top salaries of the grade respectively and these represent relevant salary points of the Master Salary Scale. For flat salaries the second two digits being “00” shows that there is no initial salary for the grade. The salary codes used for Parastatal Bodies and Local Authorities are generally acronyms of the Organisation/Department with numerical annotations.
3.44 The salary schedules are in descending order except, in Parastatal Organisations where they are presented in ascending order of salaries.