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Public sector wage reform, staff cuts crucial to country's growth

Update: February, 27/2012 - 09:06

Dang Nhu Loi, former Vice Chairman of the National Assembly's Committee for Social Affairs, spoke with the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper about wage reform in the public sector.

Why are you proposing to reduce the number of public servants?

The 1993 wage reform policy has exposed the unfortunate reality that only one-third of cadres and public employees performed responsibly at work that year. The rest were either inefficient or failed in some other ways to meet professional expectations.

In many State agencies and companies, most leaders agreed that up to half of State employees performed poorly at work. Thus, the reduction of public employees is necessary.

The reduction of the public work force has been desired for several decades without success. What makes you sure it will happen this time?

It's true that attempts to reduce the number of public employees have been carried out since 1972, but they have failed thus far because hiring has continued at the grassroots level.

This task requires determination from our leaders. A comprehensive programme over a period of five to 10 years might be a good solution.

In terms of wage reform, I think it would be ineffective to announce a pay rise for employees since it doesn't much improve their living conditions while wasting State money.

You have recently proposed eliminating the basic minimum wage. Could you explain why and how, in its absence, the State would allot pay to public employees?

The minimum wage – the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers – is no longer suitable for modern society. A State employee's salary should be compared with the salary of non-State employee instead of society's minimum wage, or it will discourage them from working effectively.

The minimum wage is the basis for our social security net, career solutions and many social policies, but the establishment of the minimum wage isn't really based on reality.

In my opinion, the State should evaluate the positions and working abilities of public employees – and not their State agencies – before paying them. Employees with the most simple professions would be paid the least and those who are capable of doing difficult tasks would get better payment.

Salaries of State employees must be equivalent to or higher than non-State ones. Based on the lowest and highest salaries of State employees, we will know their average income and form a proper payroll system.

This system would help create specific titles and annual targets for employees. Those who fail to complete their tasks would be fired. — VNS

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