HomeLocal NewsBulawayo to lay off 20% staff

Bulawayo to lay off 20% staff

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BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has reportedly proposed to cut its staff by 20%, according to a confidential report in possession of Southern Eye.

BY SHARON SIBINDI

According to the minutes of the special meeting held on March 8, 2017 on consulting services for job evaluation and organisational restructuring presented by MBB, BCC said there was need to carry out staff rationalisation, restructuring and job evaluation leading to compensation management.

“The exercise had resulted in a staff reduction from an establishment of 5 096 to 4 082 — a saving of 1 014 positions (20%),” the document read in part.

“The creation of a new department with an establishment of 51 to focus on human capital issues.”

The minutes also read that there was need to restructure departments in order to eliminate bureaucracy.

The proposed job evaluation envisaged movement from the outdated Q system to the more objective Castellion job evaluation system, which council said had many benefits.

“The study was not isolated, but had been bench-marked with other local authorities and organisations in the region for best practice and enhancement of efficiency,” the minutes read.

In the minutes presented during the special meeting, some councillors said there was no justification for any changes at this stage, arguing the local authority had been operating effectively for several years with the present system.

“Regionally and locally, council enjoyed the best practice and had collected many awards over the years on account of this. The need to merge valuation and estates was appreciated, as these two had complementary functions,” the minutes read.

“The upgrading of human resources into a fully-fledged department appeared to be a retrogressive step, as the trend among most other organisations now, was to move away from that direction.

“The human resources function no longer occupies a prominent position in organisations, but can effectively be carried out at section or branch level as appropriate. However, the housing of salaries under human resources was generally accepted.”

The minutes said the view was that the internal restructuring would address the current problem of miscommunication among departments on similar, implementing or complementing functions.

“The culture of change was likely to be traumatic to the victims of such change, particularly where this had adverse financial implications. The likelihood was that workers would be exposed to the unpleasant ‘take it or leave it’ situation,” the minutes read.

“For this reason, there was need for extensive consultation with the workforce before implementation, otherwise the exercise would meet with resistance with negative outcomes for council.

“The human resources manager explained that workers, through their union, had been part of this process from inception.

“Job grading is by its very nature bound to be problematic.

“An appeals committee would be constituted to deal with any areas of conflict.”

Contacted for comment, BCC senior public relations officer, Nesisa Mpofu said the local authority was not in a position to comment on the job evaluation project, as engagements with the workers’ representatives were still in progress.

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