Osun Govt gives reason workers should not go on strike with actual figures on Modulated Salary Structure (half salary)
The modulated salary structure adopted by the State of Osun became a child of necessity in July 2015. It is a survival strategy for a State that had been long neglected in infrastructural development but recently took a deliberate decision to rapidly develop the State. The survival strategy became necessary when revenue projections of the State got distorted as a result of the economic terrorism inflicted on the nation by the administration of Goodluck Jonathan which led to consequences, some of which the country is still grappling with today and may have to grapple with for a long time.
The dire consequences of this on many States of the Federation was made worse by some of the earlier decisions the country took including the 2011 minimum wage increase, which from all indications is unsustainable.
Most states of the federation considering the huge size of the public service of many of them, low productivity and high level of waste are unable to cope.
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Yes, the workers deserve a living wage, welfare and the best post retirement lifestyle. But do the States need the size of the public service workforce we currently carry? Can the States survive with the low level of productivity of the public service?
Could there have been a balance between living wage for the workers and the right size and efficiency of the public service?
Well, soon the reality of the bad economic situation and some not well thought through policies crept in on everyone in the second half of 2015.
Prior to this period however, the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola had introduced and paid the 13th month bonus to workers for the first time in the history of the State as a gesture to motivate the public service workers and make them partners in the development of the State.
Workers were paid their leave bonus promptly on the dates freely chosen by the workers, either on their birthdays or the anniversary of joining the service. The Governor recognised the critical role of workers in governance and development. He wants the best for the workers.
The various infrastructural development in the state are to further enhance the welfare of government workers in particular: quality and affordable schools for their children, affordable Medicare, good neighbourhoods to live in, good roads to drive on without the frequent wear and tear on their vehicles.
So, for a Governor who showed so much faith with workers and gave priority to their welfare when the economy was good and there was surplus cash flow to now adopt modulated salary structure must have left him with a very painful choice. Indeed, it was a most painful choice.
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FACTS AND FIGURES
Let us examine the facts behind the figures in the State of Osun. Let us attempt to see if there are justifiable reasons not to pay full salaries to all workers.
â€¢ GL 1-7 constitute 72% of the workforce. These 72% are paid 100% of their salaries and have been paid up till November 2017. Not a dime is owed this group which are the most vulnerable in any society.
â€¢ GL 8-12 constitute 20% of the workforce. These 20% are paid 75% of their salaries and have been paid up till November 2017. These are the middle level management who will be in charge in no distant time.
â€¢ GL 13 and above constitute 8% of the workforce. These 8% are paid 50% of their salaries and have been paid up till November 2017. These are the leaders in the State. Please note that in this category are ALL political appointees.
It is important to highlight that 28% of the workforce account for more than 50% of the wage bill. This is however understandable when you plot that against the Pareto principle.
Modulated salary structure became a painful child of necessity in July 2015. Up until then full salaries were paid to all categories of workers, leave bonuses were paid promptly and pensions were never delayed.
The state a population of four million people which includes infants, children and adults out of this population only about 700 constitute the public service. It will be unwise to use the total state revenue to pay salaries of civil servants and ignore over 80% of the populace.
As at 2010 when Ogbeni assumed office, it was obvious that the State of Osun required extra ordinary push. The world was leaving its source behind. There was just no incentive for any investor to come to Osun, no incentive for Osun people in diaspora to come home. The choices of what should be done were limited. One of it was rightsizing the workforce and make it optimal to save money.
But there was an assumption that as â€˜â€™Omoluabisâ€™â€™ Osun people are cultured to bend backwards for each other, we lose something in order for us all to gain something or survive.
We are cultured to make sacrifices for a collective interest. Therefore, the painful child of necessity called â€˜â€™Modulated Salary Structureâ€™â€™ did not come as a surprise. The interesting and comforting part of this is that the deductions are not lost. They remain IOUs in the books of government. They will be paid when the cash flow improves as assured by the governor.
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It has therefore become in our collective interest that the cash flow improves. The aspect of the various revenue heads that the State has control over is IGR. With taxable adults estimated at 1million and the massive infrastructural development which has translated to capital gains for many individuals and businesses there is nothing stopping the State from averaging N3billion monthly IGR.
The massive investment in infrastructure is a strategy towards jump starting the economy of the state. There is no doubt that the workers of the State have made huge sacrifice towards the huge transformation going on across the State.
History will be kind to them. It’s been tough for the administration of Ogbeni Rauf. He has been able to make omelette without breaking an egg with the support of workers.
It is important that this support is sustained in the interest of the State. We are almost there. The darkest part of the night is just before dawn.
This is not the time for labour unrest in the State on something that is a compromise the Government had to make against the more rational option of cutting its coat according to the size of its cloth.
The big question to the critics are:
1. What else could the government of Ogbeni Rauf have done in the circumstances the State finds itself?
2. What solution do the labour leaders have that will be fair and beneficial to the 4 million people of Osun?
This is the time to borrow each other some common sense. Osun does not deserve any labour unrest at this time.
Osun a dara si o!
www.sojworld.com (c) November 25, 2017
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