State Bank of Pakistan: 100 Contractual staff seen facing axe

Category: Banks, News

More than 100 contractual employees at the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) face an axe as the new management has decided not to renew their contracts besides putting a freeze on new hiring in an apparent move to cut operational cost, sources said.
Many of the top SBP officials, including its new Governor Shahid Hafeez Kardar, see the central bank as over-staffed and want a leaner organisation, a senior official said on the condition of anonymity.
“Since the central bank doesn’t want to take the bull by the horns, it has not touched the permanent employees in the first phase,” said the official. “The axe has fallen on the contract employees whose terms are not being automatically extended.”
So far more than a dozen contractual staff members have been shown the door, SBP sources said.
Syed Wasimuddin, chief spokesman SBP, who is himself on a two-year contract after retirement last year, said no final decision had been taken regarding the fate of contractual staff. “We are assessing our requirement based on changing needs and circumstances.”
Earlier this month, families of some of the employees of SBP Information Systems & Technology Department staged a demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club.
“Our contract renewals were due in September and October, but that didn’t happen. This is quite disturbing for me and my family,” said one sacked employee, who also asked not to be named.
Despite making profit, the central bank is going against the government policy of regularising hundreds of contractual employees in public sector enterprises, he said.
The SBP contributed Rs233 billion profits to the national kitty in fiscal year 2009-2010.
Sara Bakhtiar, Special Counsel with SBP for several years, has been the latest victim of the layoff policy, an insider said. Her contract expired on August 27, 2010, but after a wait of two months she was asked to leave, contrary to the official statement that she left on her own.
“The right-sizing must begin from permanent employees, who enjoy a lot of fringe benefits and work less,” he said. “Contractual staff is not entitled to pension, gratuity, loans, recreation facility etc. They work on lesser salaries than their permanent peers.”
While contractual employees are being laid-off, in an apparent controversial move the SBP has been re-hiring retired employees on contract basis.
Site Manager, Dr. Amir Hasan Pathan, is among those retirees who have been re-hired on one-year contract by the central bank. He is now posted at SBP Disaster Recovery Site in Hyderabad with effect from November 1, 2010, sources said.
Like many others, he is now drawing pension as well as a hefty package from the central bank.
A number of permanent employees at the central bank are nearing retirement and no succession planning is being done either by department heads or by the management, sources said.
During the tenures of three former governors, Dr Ishrat Hussain, Dr Shamshad Akhtar and Syed Salim Raza respectively, the State Bank hired professionals on contract basis to improve the quality of human resource in various departments, sources said.
“SBP seriously needs to re-think its human resource policy….even if they go for right-sizing, they should identify non-functional staff rather than sacking the contractual employees who were hired on merit and work better,” another official said.

Temporary Staff of SBP fear to be layoff - Jang 17-11-2010
Temporary Staff of SBP fear to be layoff - Jang 17-11-2010

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