Early Retirement of Public Servants without penalization of pension benefits. On 4 April 2018 the Employer made a presentation during the negotiations in the PSCBC facilitation process, quoting President Ramaphosa’s statement during the State of the Nation Address as follows:
  1. “Growth, development and transformation depend on a strong and capable state. It is critical that the structure and size of the state are optimally suited to meet the needs of the people and ensure the most efficient allocation of public resources. We will, therefore, initiate a process to review the configuration, number and size of national government departments.”
  2. Both the two labour federations Cosatu and Fedusa sold-out this approach during the meeting of 4 April 2018.
  3. A follow-up Special Public Service Collective Bargaining Council (PSBC) meeting was held on 26 March 2019 where the Employer gave the following feedback on several questions posed by Labour during the previous meeting in Centurion on 4 April 2018:
    • There is a plan in place for the unfolding of an early retiring process and the criteria it will follow.
    • Early retirement should not be confused with the Severance package.
    • Composition of the Departmental Moderating Committees and its duties.
    • Process of application for early retirement open on 1 April 2019 and close on 30 September 2019.
    • The implementation process will be taking 2 years.
    • Once an application has been approved an employee has 30 days in order to withdraw such application.
    • The number of civil servants in the category of 55 – 60 years is 126 000, but the target is 30 000.
  4. Upon approval of early retirement applications, the posts won’t be abolished, and vacant positions will be filled following normal recruitment procedures, yet the employer also indicated that such filling of positions will happen within the budgetary constraints.
  5. The early retirement of public servants without penalization of pension benefits in terms of section 16(6) of the public service Act 1994 was discussed.
  6. According to Section 16(6) of the Public Service ACT 1994, an executive authority may allow an employee to retire from the public service before reaching the age of 60 years.
  7. The Employer proposed that an Employer-initiated retirement package be established.
 
LABOUR POSITION: On 26 March 2019, following the presentation by the employer in the previous Council meeting, Labour stipulated that the Employer addresses to them the comprehensive human resource plan on the qualifying criteria, that the Employer is targeting to avoid loss of skills in the public service and the Employer must provide one department as an example to prove its comprehensive plan.EMPLOYER RESPONSE: The Employer specified the DPSA as an example with 413 employees and stipulated that less than 8% falls within the category of 50-60 years and there is no assurance that all those individuals, if any, will apply for early retirement.
LABOUR POSITION: Labour remains convinced that the Employer doesn’t have a comprehensive plan inclusive of necessary audit skills to implement the early retirement plan. Labour is of the view the Employer just wants to do away with the civil servants with the aim of reducing the public sector wage bill. We should not find ourselves being misled in section 189 in the name of negotiations.EMPLOYER POSITION: The Employer acknowledged Labour’s response and indicated they are in no way implementing any section 189 processes but early retirement. The Employer claimed there was no intention of breaking the relationship of trust between the Employer and Labour.
 
Labour demanded that the Employer place the following issues on record:
  1. That Labour is in no way part of any section 189 process.
  2. That the Employer provides a proper human resource plan for the entire public service on how the early retirement process will be implemented and the criteria that will be used.
  3. That the process should be put on hold and when it’s tabled at Council, it does not mean that it’s automatically open for negotiation.
  4. That the unions should issue media statements, informing their constituencies that there was no agreement and that Labour is still waiting on the comprehensive implementation plan from the Employer.
  5. That the employer refrains from stipulating it’s an employer-initiated process.
  6. That Labour reserves its rights in respect of this process.
  7. That the Employer cannot indicate how this process will affect the call for government wage bill reduction nor the reconfiguration of the state departments.
  8. That the Employer is negotiating in bad faith to deceive as processes are unfolding while issues are still being discussed in Council
 As NUPSAW we reject any attempt of retrenchment in any format as it results in overworked staff unless each voluntary retrenchment results in the immediate filling of that position.