Change of Working Hours Not Sitting Well with Public Officers


We are not certain if it is ineptitude or vindictiveness on the part of the Government, but the change of working hours for public officers is making them much more upset with the Briceno administration as the days go by.
When the joint unions and the Government were in negotiations a few weeks ago, a proposal was made that public officers were to work 5 hours less per week as some sort of compensation for the salaries that were going to be cut. Now that the cut in the salaries has come to pass, it became effective on June 1, the change in hours; however, did not become effective until half a month later, on June 14. And as it happened, the public officers were advised via Circular No. 34 of 2021, “that it is expected that rotation schedules will be prepared and monitored by the respective ministries and departments to accommodate the five (5) hours cut since the opening hours of offices remain the same.” All departments had already complied with this memorandum when low and behold, and this is where either ineptitude or vindictiveness came in to play, that the hours were changed.
Via Circular No 39 the Ministry of the Public Service simply changed the original arrangement. Under the heading “Standardizing working hours for the public service,” the memorandum states that, “it has become necessary to standardize the scheduling of such reduced hours for the provision of service to the populace. Cabinet has therefore agreed and hereby declare that the official opening hours for Government Business will be between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays of each working week.”
The decision now flies in the face of public officers who are already being asked to give up so much of their salary and the choice of when they are to take their hours is now also being taken away. Added to that, the move will significantly curtail the efficiency of the public service, forcing the public to wait an additional hour before service is given to them.
Some public officers are also concerned that the new hours will significantly impact them as many have to catch early morning transportation to reach their work destinations. The later hour will now force them to reschedule the time they catch public transportation which very often is unable to accommodate the volume of travelers as the mornings progress.
The latest move by the Briceno administration simply proves that they are uncaring and are unable to empathize with the ordinary public officer. After all, those at the top positions have no scheduled time to go into work and have no concern about how they are to get to work as they have drivers, government vehicles, and fuel paid for by the public purse.