–Malaita provincial workers come out with grievances
–Mala HR says, “we’ll pay start this week”
BY SAMIE WAIKORI
Malaita provincial government (MPG) has been forced to address grievances among its staff.
Starting this week, advance payments will be paid to provincial workers who had requested it.
On Tuesday this week several staff of the Malaita provincial office reportedly resorted to “assembling at the provincial office and shouting threats” at senior members of the province’s Admin after their requests for advance payment were not met.
Apparently, the provincial workers had applied for advance payment for school fees last month (May).
Since then, one says in anonymity, follow-up checks had been met with usual time-buying replies such as ‘come back tomorrow’ or ‘not yet, check another time’.
Reports received say the workers began losing patience when they saw that only a selected few were given their advance payment while the rest were “ignored”.
This, they said, culminated in Tuesday’s incident in which frustrated provincial workers confronted senior Admin staff and issued verbal threats.
One concern this issue has raised is whether it may reflect an ailing cashflow situation for Malaita province.
However, speaking to Island Sun yesterday, provincial Human Resources Manager, Richard Misi, brushes these speculations aside, saying the delay had merely been due to “process”.
He explains that it is normal that such processes take time, which is compounded when applicants do not complete forms properly or fail to provide all documents required.
“MPG understands the situation and delay so far on the payment was on required processes that need to adhere as the advance will go through the system.
“The processes include proper screening of staff advance application, control measure within finance office and the apparent financial difficulty currently everywhere in the country.
“Now, the processes have been done and staffs will expect to receive advance payment starting this week.”
Meanwhile, he explains that one thing the provincial workers fail to understand is that ‘staff advance payment’ is not stipulated in the official Staff Instructions, which means that advance payment is not an entitlement, rather is a privilege, pending considerations and approval, which in turn depends on many other factors.
On top of that, when considered, this privilege is only limited to advance payment for school fees only. Anything outside of this scope will be given less consideration, he adds.
“The maximum amount of staff advance is $5,000, and will not pay through staff bank accounts but accounts of schools their children study.
“Staffs are required to present school fee pro-formers and school bank account within the advance application, so those who apply without the documents will deem as non-school fee advance.
“The rate to pay back the advance is three-quarter of staff’s salary which will be effective after issuing advance payment to staffs.”
Thus, he appealed to staffs to refrain from causing any “odd behavior to express frustration on the matter” as the province is ready to issue advance to staff applicants.