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«Continuité minimale» de travail dans la fonction publique : Narendranath Gopee adresse une lettre au ministre Hurdoyal

Narendranath Gopee, président de la Federation of Civil Services & Other Unions (FCSOU) et de la National Trade Unions Confederation, a adressé une lettre au ministre de la Fonction publique, Vikram Hurdoyal, ce samedi 28 mars après que Swaminathan Ragen, Secretary for Public Service attaché au ministère du service civile, dans une lettre circulaire adressée le vendredi 27 mars à tous les chefs des ministères, leur a demandé de veiller à ce qu’il y ait une « continuité minimale » dans le travail des fonctionnaires en cette période de confinement total. Voici la lettre de Narendranath Gopee :

Letter addressed to Hon Minister Hurdoyal
28 March 2020.
Honourable T. Hurdoyal,
Minister for Public Service, Administrative and Institutional Reforms.

Re: MPSAIR Circular Letter No 29 of 2020: E/152/11/07

Honourable Minister,

I have taken note of the contents of the abovementioned Circular Letter, under the hand and signature of the Secretary for Public Service (SPS), dated 27 March 2020, directed to all Supervising Officers in charge of Ministries/Departments.

Taken prima facie, it appears that the SPS is far from grasping the seriousness of impact of, and damage brought in its wake by, the contagious infection COVID-19.

As you may be aware, and which, in the circumstances of the present turmoil, you certainly do, all Essential Services (ES) such as the Police Unit, SMF, Fire Services, Health Services, Prisons Services, Airport Services (CAD and AML), the Port, MRA, Ambulance (SAMU), Public Transport … are operating either under full manning or with reduced staff to secure minimum service to the population.

The brunt of the said Circular Letter rests with the opprobrious stand taken by the SPS, expressed at the last paragraph where he has requested Supervising Officers of Ministries/Departments to submit to him the name of any officer who on being requested to attend duty, refuses to do so. 

My reading of this paragraph corroborates with the concern expressed by all those public officers who have been contacting me for views since yesterday. The paragraph implicitly imports threat of disciplinary sanction against any officer who refuses to abide by the “ORDER” of the MASTER.

It would have been wise for the SPS to concurrently spell out the precautionary measures put in place by his Ministry, in line with the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 2005, for the protection and safety of any officer subdued by him.

Honourable Minister, it would have been nobler on part of the SPS to pursue a milder approach by imbuing his intention with an appreciable degree of altruism which COVID-19 invites for.

In line with the farsighted decision of the Prime Minister to impose a curfew order leading to total confinement in an attempt to “combat the spread of COVID-19”, as duly acknowledged by the SPS in his Circular Letter, and while, on the same token, making admission to “the failure to do so could seriously jeopardise our effort to contain the disease”, his urge to defeat the decision of the Prime Minister is blatantly unreasonable, irrational and devoid of good sense.

In the light of the above, I kindly request you to take proper action to ensure that the decision of the Prime Minister takes precedence over that of the SPS. To this end, the SPS can be asked to issue an new Circular Letter to override the previous one.

I wish to inform you that officers from a few non-essential services have informed me that their management has already asked them to attend duty on the coming Monday. This is exactly what a few ill-intentioned supervising officers will do under the impulse of the Circular Letter.

Yours faithfully,

Narendranath Gopee

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