Bayelsa Government commences move to down-size its workforce

Anxiety grips civil servants as Bayelsa State government commenced its plans to downsize its workforce and removal of 222 staffers from its

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Bayelsa Government commences move to down-size its workforce
Governor Seriake Dickson

Anxiety grips civil servants as Bayelsa State government commenced its plans to downsize its workforce and removal of 222 staffers from its radio station and newspaper corporation. 


According to a letter dated April 6, 2018 signed by Zidafomo, addressed to General Manager of Bayelsa Newspaper Corporation, Publishers of New-Waves Newspapers and Radio Bayelsa, 222 workers were listed as ‘excess workers'.


It was gathered that a committee set up by Gov. Seriake Dickson on staffing and funding of MDAs had compiled the list of surplus staff which is being released in batches.


Our Bayelsa State Correspondent reports that the letter directed the management of the two media outlets to withhold and remit the April salaries of affected workers to a special account at the Office of the Accountant General of the State.


The mood amongst workers at the Bayelsa State Secretariat on Wednesday April 11 was gloomy and tense as workers discussed the development in low tones in their small groups.


Although most of the civil servants were reluctant to make comments on the policy for fear of victimization, some of the affected workers faulted the process adopted by the State government.


“Reforms is part of organizational objectives and often affects people, some positively and some negatively, new jobs are created while there may be inevitable job losses. What makes this one suspicious is the issue of retrenchment before giving employers the chance to justify their expertise. I am a reporter and my name was listed and I was asked to meet a committee to prove my professional competence for redeployment when my name has been expunged from the payroll, is that not a sack? The labour ethics gives the employer the right to hire and fire so if they must fire us, why not do it procedurally which will take care of end of service benefits rather than this approach?” an affected staff averred.


Another Civil Servant said that explanations that the exercise was a mere redeployment of staff from areas of surplus to areas of need was necessary for overall efficiency of the service but withholding salaries was strange.


“The reorganization should be in a systematic way in line with civil service rules and redeployment and transfers in cases where the employee needs attracts allowances not stopping of salaries,” said a civil servant.


According to the Chairman, Bayelsa State Chapter of Trade Union Congress, the labour movement in the State was worried about the suspension of workers’ salaries.


“We are following the developments with keen interest on the impact of the reforms on the workforce and it should be done in line with labour guidelines, the redeployment of workers does not have to involve stopping salaries. We are looking at the issue with a view to making a statement on the exercise,” Dounana said.


The Bayelsa government said the ongoing public service reforms in the State was to eliminate endemic employment racketeering and pay roll fraud in its public sector.


Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (Rtd.) had assured the workers that they would not be thrown into the labour market, adding that the exercise would only affect those involved in employment fraud, redundancy and truancy.


It would be recalled that Bayelsa State Government had on November 7, 2017 announced that it withheld the October 2017 salary of some 4,202 civil servants suspected to be involved in irregularities.


Benaebi Oyinbrakemi Destiny
Bayelsa State Correspondent
Read other stories by Benaebi Oyinbrakemi Destiny
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