Rwanda Marks May Day Amidst Retrenchment

By Nasra Bishumba, The Monitor (Kampala), 2 May 2004

Kigali—Rwandan civil servants today join the world to celebrate Labour Day as government talks of civil servant retrenchment heightens.

The Minister of Labour and Public service Andre Bumaya recently announced the government's decision to slash jobs at least by 40 percent. Bumaya however, said that the government was planning a farewell package for those who will be dropped from service.

Meanwhile, hundreds of civil servants under CESTRAR, an umbrella organization of 18 workers' associations have met to discuss the government's plan to cut jobs.

At the meeting, the workers decided to set up a committee to handle and oversee all activities concerning the retrenchment of civil servants. The workers are also petitioning President Kagame who, they assume has the power to reverse the retrenchment decision.

The workers also considered demonstrations if all their efforts proved fruitless.

Martin Kamalade, who represented CESTRAR at the meeting, criticized the government for failure to paying attention to civil servants even when they are still earning meager salaries that do not suit the living standards of Rwanda.

Damascene Paul, a civil servant in one of the Ministries here told Sunday Monitor that the process of retrenchment should be given more time.

For Beatrice Niyonsaba, the retrenchment process is unfair to civil servants.