By Andrew Kunambura
A storm is brewing between top government directors and the rest of the civil service after salaries for the former were clandestinely increased by more than double that of their deputies.
A copy of a salary schedule leaked to this paper indicates that directors of ministries and government departments are now grossing US$1962 in salaries and benefits, up from US$914, with effect from April, while their deputies are taking home US$835.
With regards to principal directors, their salaries went up to US$2 878, from US$2 265.
This comes against the standard practice whereby the salary gap between government employees, by their grades, should not exceed 30 percent. In addition, the directors earn other benefits which are not extended to their deputies such as a ‘representation allowance’, among others. Middle level managers earn US$565 while the least paid government worker takes home about US$400.
When government set the new salary structure in April, it only communicated a salary increase for deputy directors of ministries, government departments and State enterprises going downwards, leaving out the directors. This gave the impression that the directors were not receiving increased salaries. Unbeknown to the rest of the civil service, the directors had entered into a separate arrangement with their employer to have their salaries hiked.
The deal was kept under wraps until one human resources manager in a State enterprise stumbled upon a salary schedule which let the cat out of the bag. President of the Apex Council, the umbrella body of civil servants’ groups, Regina Smith, confirmed knowledge of the skewed salary schedule but said she could not comment since she was out of office.
“We know about that and we have complained about it. I am out of the office currently. I will call you later when I have the full details and give you a batter comment,” she said.
Government has been on a warpath with its employees who have embarked on a series of strikes recently demanding salary adjustments that are in line with the poverty datum line. According to latest statistics, the poverty datum line stands at slightly above US$500 which is beyond what most of the civil servants are taking home monthly.
Civil servants interviewed by the Financial Gazette have reacted angrily to the disclosures.
“This is nothing but the old divide and rule principle whereby they are trying to satisfy the bigger bosses while neglecting the rest in the hope that they will keep those lower them under check,” said a disgruntled worker.
“You can clearly see that this was a well calculated design. The difference between us and the directors is unbelievable and ridiculous. This is causing an uneasy relationship between us and the directors,” he added.
Another employee said: “The increment was done so clandestinely that it was very difficult to notice. It is so painful that we are being treated in such a manner.” Financial Gazette