…messengers informed in August to apply for relevant positions within or outside the civil service 

Phurpa Lhamo

Out of more than 500 civil servant positions that the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) removed from the 12 Five Year Plan (FYP) staffing, the commission is trying to redeploy dispatchers, receptionists, and telephone operators, who are regular civil servants.

In August messengers were informed that they should apply for any relevant positions within or outside the civil service, as and when the opportunity arises, an RCSC official said.

“This early notice is to provide them with adequate time to look for alternate employment. The commission has requested agencies not to fill vacant positions arising from superannuation or resignation of this position,” the official said.

“For the messenger post, the commission will facilitate redeployment to other relevant GSP (General Service Positions) if vacancies arise, as these positions are contractual positions,” the official said.

The RCSC’s annual report released in June stated that following the 12th FYP staffing and organisation structure review, the requirements of messengers (GSP) have become redundant and 228 positions have been removed from the 12th FYP staffing.

Further, it stated that dispatchers, telephone operators, and receptionist positions have been merged as one position, since the work of these three positions can be done by one employee with the use of information and communications technology (ICT). This has reduced 260 such positions.

According to an official from the RCSC, the 500 positions reflected in the annual report did not imply that there were 500 excess civil servants who would be removed from civil service, but it referred to the positions that are rendered to be redundant from the adoption of technology and demand for efficient use of human resources.

The official added that the actual number of excess employees was 228 messengers and 25 regular dispatchers, telephone operators, and receptionists.

“For the dispatchers, telephone operators, and receptionists, many of these positions are already vacant and hence only the post is being removed, not the person. Where such positions are filled, we are redeploying them to other vacant positions within the civil service,” the official said.

Following information on the removal of the positions in the 12th FYP staffing, those civil servants in such positions also submitted a petition to Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering. The petition was filed on November 16 and was copied to the Cabinet Secretary and the Opposition Leader (OL).

According to the petition, most individuals working in these positions were women who depended on the job.

One of the messengers said that most employees had worked for a long duration in the civil service, and finding a job during the pandemic was difficult.

The official said that the RCSC was mandated to efficiently administer the human resources requirements in the civil service agencies and was not an employment-creating agency. “Therefore, it is the responsibility of the commission to ensure human resources in the civil service are optimally engaged and draw value for every ngultrum invested and not breed inefficiency.”

Recently, a receptionist was informed that her contract term wouldn’t be extended. She had been working as a receptionist for about five years.

The RCSC official said that the purpose of hiring on a contract was to address short-term HR needs and other professional capabilities that are not available in the civil service.

“Hence, when the requirement of such services no longer exists, or in other words, there are no jobs to be assigned, the post is removed for greater efficiency in human resources usage,” he said.

“Otherwise, this group of vital resources will be underutilised or underemployed without any professional growth and will gradually increase the cost of inefficiency in the economy.”

A notification was also issued on November 1 to the agencies to not renew the contract terms of dispatchers, receptionists, and telephone operators.

According to the official, these positions would be replaced by the 25 regular dispatchers, receptionists, and telephone operators who were identified as excess.

“Those position holders are not removed overnight. Options for redeployment are provided wherever possible, otherwise, individuals are informed much ahead of time, like the case of messengers who have been given sufficient time to find alternative employment.

Edited by Tshering Palden