Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



For a 24-hour Warning Strike Now!

By Dagga Tolar

Under the auspices of the Joint Negotiating Council, the workers in Lagos state public service have demanded an upward review of workers salary with effect from January 2015 and a return to the original steps instead of the present compressed steps of 1 and 2 for all officers.

It is important to note that since the introduction of the so called Consolidated Salary Structure in 2011, workers in the Lagos public service have been short changed compared to other categories of workers like the federal government workers. They are also worse off in comparison with states like Bayelsa and River states and even some states in the Southwest Nigeria, where the cost of living is not as high as that of Lagos.

We in the DSM support this demand for an increment in the minimum wage, and call, agreed by the NLC way back in December 2008, for N52,000 minimum wage subject to periodic increment to march the rate of inflation. The Oracle arrangement being used as payment system in Lagos state is such that workers do not really know what they earn. The pay slips are notoriously delayed for as much as six months. This means that workers who have cause to complain do not have any document to do so, leaving room to all manners of manipulation and deductions.

Teachers are perhaps the worst hit by the anti-worker policy of the APC led state government. They don’t enjoy the 27.5% Teachers Salary Allowance won by the NUT nationally, and are denied allowances like riverine allowance, subject allowances, etc. The schools are paid a terrible monthly grant that is practically not enough to buy chalks/ ball markers for teaching and other daily needs of the schools. The massive shortage of teachers in all schools is such that teachers take more subjects than expected in order to keep the system running at the great cost to their health. There are public primary schools in the state with as low as 5 teachers while some secondary schools have less than 10 teachers. Besides, leave bonus and tax rebate for Lagos State workers including teachers have been frozen out.

At a recent meeting with teachers, the governor claimed that there was an agreement with the NUT for reduction in the payment of 27˝ TSA to allow for more recruitment of teachers. This is a complete lie as there is no document to back this claim outside the imagination of the governor. All this is what has made a new minimum wage for Lagos state workers a necessity and long overdue.

At the same time there is the need to demand the expansion and democratization of the JNC to have all workers represented on it, on the basis of their numerical strength. This is as opposed to current situation where in Lagos state teachers with membership strength of over 40,000 teachers do not have representation on the JNC.


It is clear that the timing of this agitation by the labour leaders is targeted at the coming in election bearing in mind that the last salary increment came at the eve of the last election. Workers are however ready at anytime and will support all actions by their leaders for an improvement in all their working conditions. The production of a leaflet on the subject is welcome. But there is urgent need for a declaration of a 24-hour warning strike, as the first step, and immediate commencement of mass mobilization and sensitization of workers in Lagos to prepare ahead of the action. If the government still does not acquiesce to the demand after the warning then a full scale strike action should be declared after all necessary ultimatums and notices have been given.

The government cannot be trusted to do right thing when it comes to improving the living conditions of workers. The governor, for instance, said in his speech at last May Day celebration that the process of a renegotiation of wages was already on. Yet six months after and less than six month to end of the tenure of Fashola nothing has been done. Only the mass action of workers can force an anti-poor government to meet their demands.