After a six-month long intensive negotiation complemented with industrial actions, the Lagos State Government today announced a jumbo welfare package for its public servants, approving a minimum wage of N18, 780 while those in the rank of Permanent Secretary (PS) will statutorily take home about N1 million per month.
This was made known during the signing of documents for the new salary review at the conference room of the Ministry of Establishment, Training and Pensions inside the state secretariat, Alausa.
The ministry’s Commissioner, Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu, his counter in the health ministry, Dr. Jide Idris, Head of services, Mr. Adesegun Ogunlewe, Chairman of the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC), Comrade Henry Akinwunmiju and Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Hakeem Kazeem were all in attendance.
Speaking at the signing, Akinwunmiju told THEWILL that a Permanent Secretary (PS) in the state would earn at least three times of what a Director would earn as stipulated in a circular of the federal government after the consolidated salary structure (CONMESS) was approved after the federal negotiation was completed.
He said the salary of a Level-17 Director “was reviewed 179 per cent upward. Hitherto a Director on Grade level 17, formerly earned 117, 000 but with the new salary structure, it has increased to N347, 000. The reason being in the federal circular by wages commission, it reads that a director should earn at least one third of what the Permanent Secretary earns.
“We have worked out the 18, 000 minimum wages and it translated 62.35 per cent based on the current salary the workers are earning. But what the state government is providing amounted to between 69-197 per cent. The minimum percentage is 69.6 per cent increase for civil servants between grade levels 1-6 while the others are adjusted until the last grade (17), which now enjoys 179 per cent increase,” he explained.
On the issue of taxation, Comrade Hakeem Kazeem, who is a member of the negotiating team, canvassed a 50 percent reduction of the tax currently paid by state public servants to enable them enjoy the new pay package.
Kazeem said the 50 per cent out of the total emolument should “be given to the worker as tax free. What the state government should tax is the remaining 50 per cent of the salary. If this is done, it will go a long way in giving workers relief so that what workers will be earning could be regarded as take home pay.
“On housing, Kazeem explained that the union “has been propagating owner/occupier policy. We have been making this demand over a long period of time. The commissioner is giving this assurance in accordance with the demands of the union that owner/occupier housing should be provided for the state workers,” he added.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, Sanwo-Olu acknowledged the doggedness and tenacity of the representatives of the labour unions, though thanked the labour leaders for showing understanding in the course of the negotiation.
He said, “it has been four and five months since we started the journey of negotiation. The lesson is for other unions to show understanding. We are not expected to go on strike, but to take our work seriously. We will ensure that all other promises made by the state government are be adequately addressed in the future.”