Finance ministry prepares for administrative overhaul after strike

Finance ministry prepares for administrative overhaul after strike
January 07 13:45 2016

The ministry of finance and treasury is preparing for an administrative overhaul after President Abdulla Yameen reconstituted its functions in the aftermath of a strike by hundreds of civil servants who were protesting mass job cuts.

The ministry’s acting permanent secretary, Ajwad Musthafa, said: “Civil service regulation stipulates that there must be a review and an overhaul of the administrative framework and structure of government office if the president reconstitutes its functions and responsibilities, therefore we are currently in the process of drawing up a new administrative framework, in consultation with the finance minister,” he said.

The new framework would help identify which employees would be transferred to other government ministries or laid off. He did not specify how the functions of the ministry has changed now.

“We then will inform the staff members regarding the changes, be assured, no employee will be dismissed arbitrarily,” he added.

He did not specify when the new framework would be completed.

The December 22 strike was called after the ministry’s top civil servant Ismail Ali Manik resigned when he was ordered to fire more than 70 staff.

Protesting staff said at the time, that they have no choice but to strike after discussions with the Civil Services Commission failed to yield any results.

They submitted a petition to the CSC asking for a transparent and comprehensive human resource audit before making mass job cuts.

Following the strike, Yameen condemned the protesting staff for choosing the “hardest path to secure rights” and for protesting “over everything.” He also threatened to impose pay cuts for stopping work in protest.

The CSC issued a statement on December 26 stating that any action regarding Yameen’s reconstitution of finance ministry functions would be carried out in accordance with the civil service regulations.

Staff said they are still unsure of their fate.

“We still have been left in limbo, we have not been given any clear instructions or directives with regards to our jobs,” an employee who wished to remain anonymous said.

The finance ministry strike is only the second work stoppage by civil servants in recent history.

The president’s office then rushed to assure “technical staff” of jobs at other ministries, but many staff that The Maldives Independent spoke to said they are unsure of who would be dismissed and who would stay.

There are some 379 civil servants and 14 political appointees at the finance ministry. Concerns have been raised by senior, long serving employees of the ministry that the firing of over 70 staff would “undermine and destroy the institution”.