President of Seychelles refers public employee raise dispute to Attorney General
The salary increase was due to take effect as of April 1st, the date that the new salary grid was expected to become effective. (Salifa Karapetyan, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - President Danny Faure of Seychelles has decided to refer the matter of the proposed five percent salary increase for public service employees to the Attorney General, State House said on Thursday.
On March 19, the government of Seychelles presented the Public Service Salary Amendment Bill 2019 to the National Assembly for approval which included the five percent increase across the board for government workers.
The members of the (LDS) political party in the Assembly objected to the proposal. The main point of contention LDS had was that the five percent increase applied to each individual's salary, meaning employees with low salaries would receive a relatively low 5 percent raise compared to employees with higher salaries.
In a meeting with the press on Monday, the Leader of the Opposition, Wavel Ramkalawan, said, “With what the government is proposing, employees who are on band one will receive around R250 to R274 while those on band 20 will be getting an increase of around R4,000, before tax. We (LDS) are against this. We are suggesting that the SCR62 million budgeted for the salary increase from April up to December is distributed equally, where everyone gets the same amount.”
Since the National Assembly did not reach a consensus on the way forward for the implementation of the increase in the salary of public services employees on Friday, March 22, the government announced on Tuesday that it will implement the increase through regulation under the old public service salary act of 2013. The salary increase was due to take effect as of April 1st, the date that the new salary grid was expected to become effective.
The regulation was brought to the attention of the National Assembly as a Statutory Instrument (SI), a form of delegated legislation which may allow the government to bypass the parliament.
In a special sitting on Thursday the opposition members in the National Assembly voted to annul the regulation.
According to a State House communique, Faure “expressed regret that the National Assembly today passed a motion annulling the Regulations published on the 2nd April 2019 amending the First Schedule of the Public Service Salary Act 2013.”
State House said that the implementation of the increase through a Statutory Instrument was done in accordance with the recommendations of the Public Service Salary Review Committee, and the recommendations of the chief secretary of the Public Service.
President Faure said that he “had acted entirely within the ambit of the law in making the regulation and that he has now decided to refer the matter to the Attorney General for urgent appropriate action.”