16th August, 2010
In order to avert industrial unrest, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, Nigeria, has set machinery in motion to increase salaries of public servants in the state.
The governor, today set up a 20-member Committee on the Development of Pay Policy, Review and Salary Determination in Lagos State Public Service to find ways of reviewing workersâ€™ salaries so that they would not resort to strike to press home their demand.
The committee has 34 working days to submit its report to the governor which would be acted upon before the final review of workersâ€™ salaries would be carried out.
The governor made it clear that the Federal Government was doing the states injustice by fixing minimum salary standard for them, whereas the allocations to states and local governments had not changed.
The passion, with which the governor spoke, showed that he was not happy about the pressure brought on state governors to increase the salaries of state public servants.
â€œWe have reached a point where a very hard decision must be taken.Â We purport to run a federation where the federating units have the smaller size of revenue and have the biggest share of the burden,â€ he said.
Fashola recalled that in 2007, the Federal Government introduced the Consolidated Salary Structures as part of its Public Service Reform Programme, adding that with that, appointment into junior cadres at the Federal Service was abrogated â€œand subsequently, either outsourced or included in the â€˜consolidated salariesâ€™ of officials, who should be provided with such services.â€
â€œLagos State expressed strong reservation about such arrangement as most breadwinners who belonged to the cadres being extricated in the public service would be thrown out of job, if implemented.
â€œTo date, we still offer pensionable appointment to drivers, cleaners and other categories of junior cadre staff.Â Also, the state still operates the Harmonised Salary Structure where all components of allowances are clearly stated as opposed to the Consolidated Salary Structure,â€ he added.
The governor stated that with recent developments, particularly, in respect of the seven different salary structures introduced at the Federal Public Service, the state was not unmindful of the likely agitations that might be in the pipeline; particularly from professionals and the generality of the workforce.
He stated that in nipping envisaged reactions and averting any industrial unrest, it had become imperative that the state developed a holistic reward management system to benchmark on issues pertaining to salary determination, wage fixing and pay policy.
According to him, this would entail collective bargaining and shall give credence to key economic, organisational and institutional variables, which he said necessitated the inauguration of the committee.
The terms of reference of the committee are: to review past and current pay structure in Lagos State Public Service; to examine the resources of Lagos State Government; to review the current employee population in the Lagos State Public Service and to consider the relativity of sectors in the determination of salaries and allowances in the public service.
Others are: to consider the relativity of political office holders’ pay to that of the career public officers and professionals; to examine industrial relations and collective bargaining systems and to develop appropriate pay policy for Lagos State Public Service.
â€œThe committee shall have 34 working days; that is, 30 September, 2010, to submit its recommendations to me and will work in collaboration with an external consultant, who is versatile in the aspects of Salary Determination, Wage Fixing and Pay Policy.
â€œIt is hoped that the committee would fast track its assignment with a view to meeting the set deadline and developing an enduring and acceptable salary structure, which would put the peculiarities of the state into consideration,â€ Fashola said.
The committee is headed by the Commissioner, Establishment and Pension, Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu; the Head of Service, Mr. Adesegun Ogunlewe; Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Health, Education, Health Service Commission; Accountant General; Medical Guild; Nigeria Union of Teachers, among others.
By Kazeem Ugbodaga