By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Industrial unrest appears imminent in Lagos State, South West Nigeria as Lagos State workers have rejected the 25 percent salary increase approved for themÂ by Governor Babatunde Fashola last month.
The workers are now agitating for 62.035 percent salary increase, which is equivalent to the N18,000 minimum wage approved by the Federal Government forÂ workers in the country.
Fashola had in December 2010 while presenting the 2011 appropriation bill to the Lagos State House of Assembly, announced a new salary package of 20 percentÂ minimum and 25 percent maximum increase for workers, saying that the new package would take effect immediately after the passage of the bill into law.
The workers, under the aegis of Labour Movement in Lagos State Workers in a circular alert No. 4, with the subject head: Implementation of N18, 000 MinimumÂ Wage, said the labour made demand for the implementation of N18, 000 minimum wage for the public service workers, which led to the inauguration of aÂ committee to harmonise salary structure in public service on 16 August, 2010.
According to the union, some of the recommendations of the committee, which concluded its assignment last October, were that 20-25 percent of total revenueÂ accruing to the state government or 20-25 percent of Internally Generated Revenue, IGR be set aside for Recurrent Expenditure, which include salaries/wages,Â grants, among others.
The workers stated that the real negotiation began on 30 November 2010, lamenting that while negotiation was still in progress, the governor, in his 2011Â budget presentation to the Assembly announced 25 percent salary increase across board.
â€œWe want to categorically inform workers and the general public that labour was not part of that pronouncement.
â€œTo implement the N18, 000 minimum wage will require a minimum of 62.035 percent increase.Â The labour has submitted its working paper based on the 62.035Â percent across board for implementation,â€ it said.
The labour movement made it categorically clear that it had not concluded negotiation with government and that any pronouncement on salary increase from theÂ government without duly signed agreement between government and labour should be disregarded by the entire workforce of Lagos State.
â€œPlease, wait for further directives from the Labour movement-Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC and Joint Negotiation Committee, JNC.Â Â Distorted salary structure will no longer be accepted,â€ it added.
Also, many staff at the government secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja had kicked against the purported increase by the governor, saying it represented a peanut and aÂ far cry from the N18, 000 Federal minimum wage.