Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay around two weeks ago wrote to the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) to revisit and look into the grievances of the Supervisory and Support (S&S) category of civil servants.
“These S&S civil servants would know what is good for them,” said the PM.
The main complaint of the representatives of the aggrieved S&S civil servants was that they were only consulted by junior officials and hence no proper consultation was done with them.
They pointed to the Constitution and the Civil Service Act saying that proper consultation needs to be done.
The PM while not spelling out that consultation should be done again is supportive of the S&S staff position that their case needs to be relooked into.
The RCSC in 2016 brought about a new category in the civil service called S&S. This applied for the earlier S category that took in civil servants who did not do the BCSE and were not graduates. These were mainly class 12 or diploma holders. One example would be certain engineers or inspectors.
The RCSC reasoned that this group could go up to only to a maximum of the P3 level leading to stagnation. The other problem according to the RCSC was that to avoid confusion the S category needed to be separated from the P&M or the professional and management civil servants, who entered through the BCSE and were all graduates.
For the one additional level jump the RCSC after S 1 level created SS 4 equivalent to P 5, SS 3 for P 4, SS 2 for P 3, SS1 for P 2.
Then it increased the promotion period from the earlier four years to five years saying that the SS level for the S category is equivalent to the Ex position for the P&M category where it takes five to six years to jump to the next level.
This five year promotion period is the main grouse of the S&S group representatives that approached the PM. They want to be brought to the earlier system of a four year period arguing that the five year period for promotion will create more stagnancy.
They also refuted RCSC’s claim that the 5-year promotion has affected only a small number of civil servants stating that it has affected 4,370 civil servants, who are currently in S1 and above. The RCSC in turn disputes this.
All the RCSC Commissioners for the last two weeks have been in the Dzongkhags discussing with the civil servants on various issues as the BCSR 2012 is going to be updated to the BCSR 2017. A senior RCSC official on the condition of anonymity said that since the Commission has been out of station for a while it has not got time to sit down and discuss the Prime Minister’s letter.
However, the RCSC official said that the five year issue was also being raised by S&S officials at the Dzongkhag level.
The RCSC claimed that pre-reform, 7,429 civil servants could go up to S1 or P5 only. With the reform all the civil servants in S&S category, irrespective of entry level or qualification up gradation, but subject to minimum performance, now have a smooth career movement up to SS1.
The Commissioners after meeting the Dzongkhag level civil servants will then come to Thimphu and consult with the other remaining civil servants on the BCSR 2017.
A group of around 400 civil servants from various government agencies signed a petition against the recent RCSC civil service reforms.
The other issues of the group were on applying the ‘vested rights’ principle and keeping civil servants who got in service bachelors degree in the P&M category. There are 11,248 civil servants in the S&S Category.