The National Assembly passed the motion to regularise consolidated contract employees (CCE) with 32 parliamentarians out of 37 supporting the motion yesterday.

Maenbi-Tshaenkhar Member of Parliament (MP), Choki Gyeltshen moved the motion to review the consolidated contract employees and make them regular contract employees, reasoning that consolidated contract employees did not enjoy increments, benefits, and lack of financial security among others.

Choki Gyeltshen said that although some consolidated contract employees were recruited to solve short-term employee shortages, they had been serving for more than five years. “Out of 31,278 civil servants, 4,622 employees are on consolidated contract.”

Most MPs agreed to the motion and reiterated the pledge of the government to regularise CCE but doubted if it was appropriate to consider the motion during the pandemic when funds are in short supply.

Draagteng Langthel MP, Gyem Dorji, said the discussion in the parliament should be about how to provide jobs to unemployed youth when many were jobless due to the pandemic. “I support the motion but am doubtful if is the right time.”

Finance Minister Namgay Tshering said that although it was necessary to regularise contract employees, considering the pandemic the time was not right. “The government will give priority to regularise CCE when the situation gets better.”

Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji shared that there were 933 consolidated contract employees in the education ministry. A teacher on CCE earns Nu 371,460 yearly and with regularisation they would earn Nu 458,737 which is an increase of Nu 87,277.

Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji said if 3,700 CCE were regularised, about Nu 150 million would be spent on their salary. “We are at a stage where we are struggling to buy test kits for Covid-19 and regularising CCE would have a huge financial implication,” Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji who voted “no” said.

Many MPs voiced that the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) was the body to regularise matters regarding civil servants and questioned if the civil service commission would implement the decisions of the parliament.

Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji said the parliament was not the place to discuss civil servants and it was like meddling into RCSC’s business.

He said the government planned to initiate reforms in the contract employee system after bringing contract employees under the labour ministry. “Due to financial implications, we could not support the contract employees.”

MP Choki Gyeltshen said he met with about 2,000 contract employees and found out that issues with contract employees had to be looked into.

By Yangyel Lhaden