Our CEO is no easy person: not that he is “unapproachable”, shouts at his employees or bangs tables during meetings.
He is the most approachable person you could work with; he on several occasions stops to chat with the “least” of his employees.
He, once in a while, joins us as we take our break tea, he will find you at your duty station and ask you what you think of your work, what challenges you meet and what you think should be the solution.
He even started a Joint Consultative Council which sits after a given period and brings together representatives of the different sections including cleaners and heads of departments, which he or his representative chairs.
He is calm even when the rest of his lieutenants fret, pull their hair and frown like raging bulls/cows. The problem is that he demands orderliness.
So when we, the employees, want to ask him something, we first organize ourselves and “attack” him in an orderly way. Sometime back we wanted him to raise our salaries so we sat and decided on a strategy; we would be led by Matilda the secretary.
Matilda knows everything and everyone and one would be foolhardy to ignore her advice. Besides she has worked for the company as long as anyone can remember.
When her name was floated as the person who would lead the attack, no one raised a finger in opposition and as someone put it, she was elected in the most democratic way.
Like a battle-hardened combatant she simply shrugged her shoulders and said if we trusted her leadership, she was ready to lead the demand for the pay raise.
We wrote to the CEO and he gracefully wrote back granting us the opportunity to discuss our salaries and their possible increase.
As stoic as the bombed CND, the CEO opened the meeting by mentioning the name of almost all those in attendance and told us how glad he was that we had had the opportunity to discuss some issues that may otherwise have affected our productivity and that of the company.
He said it was a year since we last had a salary review but he would be happy to listen to what we had to tell him. We stole glances at Matilda to encourage her to draw first blood but she could only shift uneasily in her seat.
It was only when Manjeri cleared her throat ready to fire away that Matilda raised her hand and the CEO said “yes Matilda”.
We all looked at her nodding our support and Matilda started by telling the “Chief” that she had worked for the company for 15 years and her salary had always had meagre increments, citing last year’s annual salary review in which hers was increased by a mere 8%.
As the longest serving employee in the company, she reasoned, her salary review should reflect her faithfulness and commitment to the company.
The CEO smiled and said “O.K. Who else has worked that long for the company?” No one dared raise their hand.
“I disagree with Dear Matilda on several things but I will start with the number of years she has worked,” said the CEO. We sat on the edges of our seats ready to disprove the “Chief”.
“Let us take the example of last year, in inverted commas,” said the Boss raising his hands and ‘writing’ the commas in the air for us to see.
“How many days are in a year?” asked the Chief and all of us chorused “365”.
“How many days were declared public holidays for the year 2008?” he asked. We mentally added up the holidays and came up with 11 public holidays.” That leaves us with 264 days, right?” We said our ‘yes’ in unison.
“For how many days were you on leave, Matilda?” asked the CEO. “I was on annual leave for 30 days, but only for 22 working days”.
“Alright Matilda” said the chief, “that leaves us with 230 days in a year that you think you worked, right? How many hours per day do you actually spend at your desk Matilda?”
She said she spends eight hours at her place of work per day. “Well twenty four hours make a day; let’s see, 230 days x 24 hours=5520 hours and 230 days x 8=1840 hours.
When you subtract 1840 hours from 5520 hrs you are supposed to have worked for the company in a year, you get 3680 hours in which you did different things other than company work which totals 3680/24= 153.3 days and only 1840/24=76.7 days in a year for the company.
Assuming you had no sick, compassionate, casual or any other leave you actually worked for 77 days in 2008 and since 30 days make a month, 77/30=2.5 months.
In 2008, you actually worked for two and half months and consequently for the 15 years you have actually worked for, let’s see 2.5 months x 15 years 37.5 months and since a year has 12 months, that makes 3.125 years in what you call 15 years and you have been paid for every single day of the fifteen years which I think is unfair to the company”.
Matilda was beginning to say how many days she was at her place of work when the CEO resumed: “Matilda, you get paid Rwf200 000 per 30 days for twelve times a year which makes Rwf2 400 000 for less than 77 actual working days; I think we need to examine how much the company gets from you in comparison to what you get from it”.
No one wanted to take on the CEO so we decided to regroup and make another attack having realized that this time round he had ambushed us.