The Argentine government’s Ministry of Modernization will launch its plan this year to reduce bureaucracy in state agencies, a proposal certain to involve tense negotiations with Argentina‘s powerful trade unions.
The newspaper La Nación notes that the plan of Mauricio Macri‘s administration is to install a “meritocracy” with a system of rewards and punishments for state workers.
- Read More: Argentina Reaches Deal to Tap into Massive Vaca Muerta Oil and Gas
- Read More: Argentina Still Won’t See Investment Boom in 2017, Expert Says
“The general objective of these changes is to generate a state led by able and trained people. Our obligation is to use our human capital to the best of our abilities in order to achieve the goals of the administration,” minister Andrés Ibarra told La Nación.
In its first term, the government will work on the training for state workers. Sources from the modernization office said that the courses in question will be optional, allowing those employees who choose to participate to increase their salaries, giving them an advantage over those who elect to attend the courses.
Minister Ibarra explained to La Nación that the courses will be divided by “formative itineraries”, according to the area in which the employee works.
“Once we have them trained, they will need to demonstrate the ability to apply what they were taught, in order to meet their objectives, and improve their performance,” Argentine sources told the ministry.
The programs used to train state personnel will be developed in conjunction with national and regional universities.
On the other hand, the 3,000 coordinator and director positions that the government is seeking to fill will be selected competitively. This month, the government will be filling 300 positions, about ten to fifteen per ministry.
When asked if the current directors and coordinators could lose their jobs, the modernization ministry responded to La Nación: “They will have better chances than other applicants, because they are already familiar with the positions they are in. We are seeking stable and long-term positions, that are not merely dependent upon the prevailing political winds.”
The government also intends to simplify public administration. “There are ministries or administrations in which the amount of paperwork is really excessive. The idea is to reduce that amount, and establish a common database that serves the entire public administration,” they said.
La Nacion points out that there has been constructive dialogue between Minister Ibarra and the Union of Civilian Personnel of the Nation (UPCN), but little agreement has been reached with the Association of State Workers (ATE) who are suspicious of the plan.
In September of last year, the government announced that a new stage of contract reviews and reorganization of state personnel, which could include layoffs in the sector, had begun. The new phase includes personnel transfers, training, retirements, work leaves, and even non-renewal of contracts.
President Mauricio Macri and his team were widely criticized by the opposition at the beginning of their administration for the number of layoffs in the civil service. It is estimated that up until March 31, 2016, 10,662 public sector employees were dismissed.
A report from the Ministry of Labor published in November 2016 revealed that public employment in Argentina at the end of 2016 had reached the same level as December 2015.
Source: La Nacion