27 September 2023

News in Brief

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NETHERLANDS: Former Speaker fights probe in court

Former Netherlands Member of Parliament, Khadija Arib has taken legal action to stop an investigation into her behaviour during her time as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Ms Arib (pictured) is disputing the legality of the probe.

The inquiry was launched by Parliament’s Executive Committee in response to two anonymous letters from Public Servants in her office accusing Ms Arib of creating “an unsafe environment”.

This prompted her resignation last year after 24 years as a Labour MP, including five as Speaker.

The Hague, 31 August 2023

MALAYSIA: PM orders salary ‘adjustments’

The Malaysian Government will make adjustments to the salaries of lecturers, professors, and Public Servants in the upcoming Budget, Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim says.

Mr Anwar described the move as a temporary measure until a comprehensive study on the salary and retirement schemes for Public Servants is completed next year.

“I’ve noticed that the salary adjustments for lecturers, professors, and Civil Servants have not been reviewed or increased for the past 10-to-12 years — there should be salary adjustments every 10 years,” Mr Anwar said.

His announcement came during a speech in which the Prime Minister urged the country’s youth “to reject the politics of slander attempted by a handful of political leaders in the country and, in turn, reshape the narrative of future politics”.
Kuala Lumpur, 6 September 2023

ISLE OF MAN: Officials back union in pay dispute

A ballot of public sector workers on the Isle of Man has found the majority are willing to take industrial action as part of a dispute over pay, the Prospect union has said.

In July, Prospect members rejected a 5.5 per cent offer from the Manx Government. Now 77 per cent of respondents in the ballot say they would take action “in furtherance of an improved offer”.

Prospect Negotiating Officer, Mick Hewer said the ballot clearly sent out a message to public employers on the self-governing United Kingdom island that the 5.5 per cent increase offered was unacceptable and an improved offer was needed.

The Government has declined to comment on the result of the ballot.
Douglas, 1 September 2023

PORTUGAL: Courts closed as strikes roll on

A one-day strike by Portuguese Public Servants working in the Judiciary, which resulted in many courts being closed, is just the latest in a torrid northern summer of industrial action.

According to the Ministry of Labor, the first half of this year saw 1,499 strike notices, an increase of more than 92 per cent compared to last year.

In public administration, strikes have risen by 288 per cent, driven by education and healthcare workers, and local administration and Justice Public Servants.

September will see no let-up. The Union of All Education Professionals has announced a week-long strike from 18 September when classes are set to start. Teachers say they have been fighting against low salaries with no relief in sight.
Lisbon, 5 September 2023

TURKIYE: Two-year pay plan for officers

Türkiye’s Public Officials Arbitration Board has announced staggered salary increases for the country’s Public Servants in 2024 and 2025.

There will be a 15 per cent rise for Public Servants and retirees in the first half of 2024, followed by a 10 per cent increase in the second half.

In 2025 there would be six per cent boost in the first half and five per cent in the second.

Minister for Labour and Social Security, Vedat Işıkhan said the increases were necessary as the country’s inflation rate had risen to 48 per cent in August due to a decline in the value of the Turkish lira and tax increases.
Ankara, 3 September 2023

CYPRUS: Remote working rules established

The Cypriot Cabinet has approved a policy framework for regulating remote working within the Public Service as part of the national Recovery and Resilience Plan 2021-2026.

Regulating rules outlining remote working in the public sector has been on the Cabinet’s Agenda since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, when a number of offices had to be shut for health reasons.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Finance said the regulation of flexible forms of employment aimed to modernise the operation of the Public Service, while also contributing to a better balance between employees’ professional and personal lives.

“The new policy framework aims to enhance incentives and create a more supportive working environment for all employees, subsequently improving the Public Service,” the statement said.

Nicosia, 5 September 2023

JORDAN: Bureaucratic ban on philosophers

Jordan does not want any more political scientists, banking and financial graduates, archaeologists or philosophers in its Public Service.

It is, however, in desperate need of anaesthetists, engineers, Arabic language specialists and those who are experts in artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

This was revealed by President of the Civil Service Bureau, Sameh Al-Nasser in an upgraded list of professions that are over-represented and in short supply in the current bureaucracy.

The list indicated that the country had more than enough educators in most subjects, but was missing out in what the Bureau described as “fields related to rapid global changes, especially in the digital domain”.

More prosaically, warehouse and supply managers were also in short supply.

Amman, 26 August, 2023

GREECE: TripAdvisor-style rating for officials

Greek citizens will soon be able to rate the quality of services provided by the State through an online evaluation system, the Ministry for the Interior says.

In a statement, the Ministry said the platform would resemble the TripAdvisor travel website, where customers evaluated restaurants or hotels based on the services they offered.

“The plan envisages the creation of an electronic mechanism where the citizens themselves will have the first say and will feed their comments to the administration after their service,” the statement said.

“The aim is to make the Civil Service more effective, more efficient and ultimately more convenient.”

Athens, 28 August, 2023

KENYA: Procurement corruption targeted

Head of Kenya’s Public Service, Felix Koskei has fired a warning shot at procurement officers over corruption in Government Ministries and Departments.

Mr Koskei said President William Ruto’s administration was determined to rewrite the course of Kenya’s history by reversing endemic graft.

“I encourage Procurement Officers to say no to corruption. We know what is happening in each and every institution. We are moving steadily. You can see Agencies closing in on individuals and others being taken to court. If you are on the right side of history, don’t worry,” Mr Koskei said.

“Be part of institutions that will change the course of this country and collaborate with Agencies to fight corruption and make this country better.”

Nairobi, 27 August, 2023

INDIA: Debate on exam age limit ended

The Indian Government has closed down debate on qualification for the prestigious Public Service examination, with Union Minister, Jitendra Singh stating in Parliament that any alterations to the age limit and the number of attempts allowed were not feasible.

The examination, conducted annually by the Union Public Service Commission, is highly competitive with specific rules and guidelines that are stringently enforced.

Mr Singh said following several High Court challenges “the matter has been duly considered in the Department of Personnel and Training and it has not been found feasible to consider any change in the existing provisions”.

He said the announcement was necessary to bring clarity to the many applicants preparing to appear in the 2023 examination rounds.

New Delhi, 26 August 2023

SYRIA: PS wages doubled as currency crashes

Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad has moved to keep Public Servants on board with his regime by doubling their wages and pensions.

This comes as the war-torn country’s national currency spirals downwards, reaching a new low for the year.

Mr Assad issued his decrees as the Syrian pound’s value against the US dollar declined to an all-time low, down from £S7,000 at the beginning of 2023 to £S15,000 at the beginning of the month. At the start of the civil conflict in 2011, just £S47 bought a US dollar.

Syria’s last Public Service wage rise was in December 2021, when Mr Assad raised salaries by 30 per cent.

Damascus, 26 August 2023

BERMUDA: Two-year wait for pay rise ends

The Bermuda Public Services Union (BPSU) has signed a new collective bargaining agreement with the Government.

Prime Minister, David Burt told the House of Assembly that the Government had committed to $B19.4 million ($A30 million) in back pay, ex-gratia payments and pay increases for employees represented by the island’s three largest unions, including the BPSU.

Mr Burt, who is also Minister for Finance, said public employees had gone two years without pay increases.

“This Government is pleased that we were able to remain at the table and reach a compromise position that was ultimately accepted by all parties without any form of industrial action,” Mr Burt said.

Hamilton, 28 August 2023

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