Machines replace 80 NSSF workers

Mr Richard Byarugaba, the managing director NSSF. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • Automation of backend office work in Operations Department has rendered employees “redundant”, prompting what management has alternately called reorganisation and restructuring, but new slots opening.

Dozens of National Social Security Fund (NSSF) staff at the headquarters are expected to start taking interviews for new jobs today after automation rendered positions under Operations department for backend office work “redundant”.

The Fund managing director, Mr Richard Byarugaba, called the exercise, which affected staff separately said had demoralised them and sparked panic, a “reorganisation”.

Multiple sources within the entity intimated to this newspaper that Mr Byarugaba in an address on June 10, this year, christened the planned change as “restructuring” necessitated by automation.

Noticing the evident loss of morale and lack of concentration at work by Operations department staff, one source with knowledge of the matter, said the managing director returned early this week to assure them not to worry because each would be eligible to apply for opening business and financial advisory service jobs.

Only those not absorbed after the interview, or those unwilling to do so, will leave, he reportedly said.

Insiders say the new openings, among them mapping and registering employers at entities employing less than five workers, are of lower grade than most of the current posting of affected staff, raising questions whether their terms of engagement will be varied or maintained.

Unlike under the old law where private sector employees could only register as members of Fund if they numbered five or more, the revised NSSF Act makes registration of every private sector worker as NSSF member mandatory.

Recruitment drive

In addition, the amended law provides for voluntary enlistment by individuals otherwise ineligible to do so under the old version of the law.  It is on this basis that the Fund reportedly plans an all-out enumeration and recruitment drive, necessitating new hires.

In an interview for this story, Mr Byarugaba said positions of up to 80 staff mainly in the Operations Department, involved in backend office work including data processing, had been rendered “redundant” as a result of the installation last year of a new IT platform procured to support mid-term cash payouts.

“We implemented a new system which made a lot of the back office systems redundant. All the people who were working in our back office, those jobs do not exist any-more,” he said in an official statement.

He added: “The total number of staff whose jobs were impacted are 80. Fifty-seven will be placed in vacancies that were created by the restructure. All staff who are willing to reskill will be deployed to continue working in the Fund.”

Asked why the staff need to reapply for new jobs, rather than be reskilled and redeployed administratively, if the exercise is not a restructuring, Mr Byarugaba said “be-cause those jobs are new, these guys had an old job. You just cannot be appointed to a new job”.

“They have to go through interviews and they have to express interest in that job. If you were a data officer and now the new job is a sales or financial advisor, how do you appoint someone if they do not want it. It is a new position,” he said.

According to him, no employee will be laid off, and those not interested in moving to another department can take a voluntary early retirement.

And those who fail the interviews will “be paid out,” and leave, he added.

Extracts of the official communication about the changes seen by the reporter indicate that the Operations staff will, if successful in the interview, be reassigned, among other things, to identify, recruit and register new Fund clients, and identify and offer business solutions to expressed problems.


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