In an interview with The Herald, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (in charge of communications) Mr George Charamba spoke on allegations that soldiers are paid more than other civil servants.
Charamba said members of the uniformed forces which include the army and security sector, are not unionised.
He went on to further state that issues pertaining to the welfare of uniformed forces cannot be lumped with issues concerning the civil servants who can continuously engage Government, through the tripartite negotiating forum.
Charamba said that the soldier’s grievances are heard by the President directly since he is their commander in chief. Charamba said:
Now they are saying why are you differentiating your compassion. They are saying people in the uniformed forces were favoured. In the first place, uniformed forces and the entirety of the security forces is not unionised. It is indeed a debate that, can a man who yields a gun also be allowed to collectively bargain? Whenever there is a welfare issue, which is related to their workplaces, those issues are ventilated through their command structure and the President being the Commander-In-Chief. (What this) means is that communication ends up on his desk.
Charamba went on to argue that civil servants’ unions should not comment on issues of the uniformed forces since they are not their members. He implied that other civil servants should not compare what they get to that earned by soldiers.
So you cannot have staff associations overreaching and trying to comment on issues of uniformed forces who are not their members. In any case, if there is a valid argument, their argument needs not to be predicated on what uniformed forces get or don’t get. Their argument must stand on its merit; you don’t rise by pulling the other guy down. Why not harness that difference to bargain for better?