It is gratifying that the public service workers have finally inked to paper an agreement to improve their salaries and conditions of service which have not been attended to in the last two years of a wage freeze.
Government yesterday awarded civil servants a salary increase of between 9 and 29 percent effective 2016 which will see the lowest paid getting at least K3,450 from K 2,310.
The wage freeze which was imposed without a tripartite labour council was slowly developing into a national crisis with everybody with an issue against Government using it as a rod to castigate the ruling class with.
Indeed, the anger was understandable as labour laws prescribe consultations and negotiation over labour matters.
In this case, there was no negotiation between the trade unions and their employers to suspend improved salary negotiations and better conditions of service.
But it is good that after the Presidential directive to lift the wage freeze, it culminated in the labour movement and the Government negotiating teams sitting down to look at salaries and conditions of service proposals.
We are happy that this year’s negotiations were not characterised by unreasonableness where emotions rule the greater part of the negotiations.
Perhaps, this is largely because of the measures put in place before the negotiations commenced.
We recall Government and trade union teams constituting a joint team to look at the public resource envelope.
Indeed, the resource envelope is very limited in the current economic dispensation which has seen the country recording a budget deficit in the midst of competing national requirements.
But it must be understood that it was not possible for Government to award a salary increase equivalent to negotiations of the last two years when there was a wage freeze.
Therefore, the public service workers should accept the little from the national cake and apply themselves to productivity by serving the public with all honesty unlike the status quo where civil servants’ vehicles would be meandering as late as 09:00 hrs on the road heading to offices and by 16:00 hrs, the same would be the same as they head home.
There should also be strict observance to working hours instead of the present norm where officers leave offices well before designated lunch time and return long after 14.00hrs.
The inertia in the public service undermines the vibrancy and dynamism of service delivery because most services which are supposed to be offered by the public service are rarely provided because of the ‘I don’t care attitude’ of officers in public offices.
So as the public service workers celebrate the new pay in the New Year, it is important that they also commit to attitude change as to how they perceive work.