Mauritius: The Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Georges Pierre Lesjongard, announced today, in a press conference held at the seat of the Ministry in Port Louis, the implementation of new revised salary scales and terms and conditions of service for some 2,188 employees working in the technical, administrative and engineering departments of the Central Electricity Board (CEB), which would cost some Rs 18 million per month.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities, Mrs Zeenat Guness-Goolbar; the Chairperson of the CEB, Mr Radhakrishna Chellapermal; and the Officer-in-Charge of the CEB, Mr Rajden Chowdharry, were present at the press conference.
Recalling that the last review of the salary and terms and conditions of service at the CEB, held every four years, dated back to 2017, the Minister informed that the Report regarding the latest review exercise for the period 2021 to 2025 was presented by consultancy firm, Deloitte, in January 2022.
He added that the draft collective agreement for the effective implementation of the Report was then submitted to the Management and Board of the CEB and the relevant Trade Unions, namely the Central Electricity Board Staff Association (CEBSA), the Union of Employees of Central Electricity Board and other Energy Sectors (UECEBOES), and the Central Electricity Board Workers Union (CEBWU) for consideration.
According to Mr Lesjongard, the increase regarding the actual salary converted to new salary was between 19% to 25%, with the variations resulting from aspects such as grades and responsibilities. He explained that the Consultant had taken into account the inflation rate over the last four fiscal years and forecast the inflation rate for periods 2022-2023 to compensate for the loss of power of employees deemed at 11%.
“The technical adjustments to address salary discrepancy between grades as well as to attend to the disputes between the CEB and the Trade Unions at the level of the Employment Relations Tribunal were also considered,” said Lesjongard.
The Energy Minister apprised that the Consultant proposed that the arrears in respect of wages and allowance due as from July 2021 to CEB employees be thus paid in three instalments over a two-year period.
In addition, he underlined that the Report would enable the Organisation to acknowledge and recognise the work of the employees and reward their efforts. On that score, Lesjongard mentioned the establishment of a new scale for engineers and professionals of the CEB based on qualifications, competencies, and functions. He talked, too, of training to be provided to employees to enable them to take on greater responsibilities in the future.
Moreover, the Minister was of the view that the Report came at an opportune time for the CEB, which is the sole Organisation responsible for the transmission, distribution and supply of electricity, as the country accelerated the execution of the objectives set by the Government regarding the energy sector as described in the Renewable Energy Roadmap 2030.
These goals pertain to the increase in the share of renewable energy in the electricity mix to 65% by 2030 and the establishment of the green energy industry as an economic pillar of activity. Mr Lesjongard pointed out as well that the setting up of an independent body to regulate the utility services, namely the Utility Regulatory Authority, had been factored in by the Consultant.
For the Minister, the Report advocated a modern approach that would enable the CEB, as a major player, to contribute to the achievement of the ambitions of the Government for the energy sector. He underlined that the approach was underpinned by quality, productivity, and employee performance. Lesjongard was of the view that the CEB would now be in a better position to attract young and experienced talents with its revised salary scales and conditions of service.
Other main points of the Report put forward by the Minister during the press conference were the use of technology in the day-to-day operations of the CEB, including for Human Resource Management; a rise of 17% in the pension funds; the taking over by the CEB of the activities and functions of CEB (Green Energy) Co. Ltd and CEB (FACILITIES) Co. Ltd; the redeployment of employees of these subsidiaries to departments of the CEB; and the creation of a new Unit to drive the energy transition by operating the renewable energy schemes for utility-scale and distribution generation for different categories of consumers.
On another front, the Minister of Energy and Public Utilities seized the opportunity to express his gratitude to the employees and Management of the CEB, who made the necessary arrangements and worked hard to prevent any power outage following the suspension of the power station of Terragen Ltd since 29 April 2022. Mr Lesjongard said that he was satisfied that an amicable solution had been reached between the CEB and Terragen Ltd and that the latter had resumed its electricity production activities.