Home » General » Promotion, Regrading of Workers

There have been many instances where workers have been at loggerheads with employers over the terms “promotion” and “regrading.” The term regrading may apply to workers whose roles have changed significantly since the job was originally graded.

The role profile matrix and the defined level (that is grade) within it, is built upon a description of typical activities at different levels and grades. This is underpinned by three key job factors — know how (knowledge and skills necessary to perform the role), problem solving and accountability.

Promotion is the aancement of an employee’s rank or position in an organisational hierarchy system. Promotion maybe an employee’s reward for good performance, which is positive appraisal.

Before a company promotes an employee to a particular position, it ensures that the person is able to handle the added responsibilities through screening by interviews.

Concerning the difference between promotion and regrading, let me examine one example of a case that later spilled into the Labour Court seeking clarification between the two terms.

Famious Chagonda joined the Ministry of Justice in October 1994 as an inspector of premises. He became a senior inspector in 1998.

In 2001, the Department of Liquor License moved from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

On January 21, 2003, Chagonda was appointed senior executive officer. He argued that the post was the same as secretary for Liquor Licensing Board. Chagonda was signing liquor licenses, a duty performed by the secretary of the Liquor Board.

The ministries of Public Service and Local Government disputed that the post of senior executive officer was the same as secretary of the Liquor Board.

Chagonda then brought an application before the Labour Court seeking confirmation of the post of secretary to the Liquor Licensing Board with effect from January 30, 2003.

He also implored that he be paid all salaries and benefits due from January 2003 to date of payment as well as cost of the suit.

Facts on the ground were that Chagonda was regraded from senior inspector to senior executive officer Liquor Licensing Board.

The regrading letter read: “Following the interview held at Head Office on December 19, 2002, the Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has approved that you be regraded from your present grade. You will be eligible for appointment as an established officer when you have served in minimum period of two years.

It is imperative that you be aware of the change in your conditions of service in your appointment as an officer on probation.”

The above letter is the purported letter of promotion to secretary of the Liquor Licensing Board. The letter talks of “regrading” and not “promotion”.

Regrading entails grading again the same post. What is clear from the letter is that the “regrading” arose from an interview on December 19, 2002.

Unfortunately, the memo calling upon persons for the interview was not provided in court. Such minute would have assisted in establishing the post, which had been aertised.

However, a closer scrutiny of the regrading letter showed that Chagonda’s grade changed from senior inspector to senior executive officer. Senior inspector — as per the Public Service Commission Aancement, Regrading and Promotion procedures — fell in Grade C3.

Chagonda — as a senior executive officer — was placed one grade higher into Grade C4. From such facts, it is agreeable with Chagonda that he was indeed promoted from senior inspector to senior executive officer (Liquor Licensing Board).

Chagonda argued that such post was the same as secretary for Liquor Licensing Board. Looking at the job description of the two post — in particular the work that was being done by Chagonda which included issuing liquor licenses — he was carrying out the duties of the secretary to the Liquor Licensing Board.

However, from the facts available on December 20, 2006, the Public Service Commission through a circular regraded the post of senior inspector to Grade C5 and principal inspector to D1, D2 and D3.

The post of secretary for liquor license was a promotional grade from the post of senior inspector of premises. The Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development failed to regrade the post of Chagonda as per the Ministry of Public Service circular referred to above.

Despite complaints, both Ministries failed to do so, hence Chagonda approached the Labour Court for his confirmation to the post of secretary Liquor Licensing Board.

However, courts do not promote persons to any post. Courts look at the totality of the evidence and come up with a decision whether indeed Chagonda was secretary to the Liquor Licensing Board.

From the evidence that was submitted before the court, indeed Chagonda was performing the duties of the secretary of the Liquor Licensing Board.

Chagonda was wrongly graded in Grade C4. The senior executive officers posts was the most senior post in 2003.

In 2006, the least grade of such post was D1. The Ministry of Public Service had a right to create new posts and come up with qualifications for those posts. However, in doing so, it should have complied with the law.

In this case, Chagonda, for all his intents and purposes was sitting on the top post and his grade should have reflected that.

Accordingly, Chagonda’s application succeeded before Labour Court president Mr Custom Kachambwa. Chagonda was confirmed as secretary of the Liquor Licensing Board with effect from January 30, 2003.

He was to be paid all salary and benefits due from January 2003 to date of payment. The Ministries of Public Service and Local Government were ordered to pay costs jointly and severally, one paying the other to be exonerated.

Source : The Herald

Archives