*We will address all grey areas, says Chief Commissioner
By Lateef Ibrahim , Abuja
Staff of the Public Complaints Commission, PCC, under the aegis of the Joint Unions of Public Complaints Commission (JUPCC), are set for a massive showdown with the management of the Commission, over the refusal to fully implement the approved Consolidated Legislative Salary Scale (CONLESS) for them.
The 9th Senate, under the then leadership of Dr. Ahmed Lawan, it will be recalled, had on 22nd October, 2021, graciously approved the request of the staff of PCC to migrate from the previous Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS) to CONLESS.
The approval was conveyed to the staff through a letter signed by Secretary to the Commission, Modupe Kolawole.
The management of the PCC had, since then, been dilly-dallying over the implementation of CONLESS, citing lack of funds among other excuses.
The staff are however angry that instead of implementing CONLESS for them as approved by the Senate, the management was busy buying Jeeps for the Commissioners of the PCC as well as recruiting excessive workers.
It was reliably gathered that the Chief Commissioner the PCC …….who was given an approval last year to employ 88 staff, went and employed 900 staff which is affecting the CONLESS implementation.
A staff of the PCC, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “The CONLESS struggle started during the administration of the last Hon Chief Commissioner , Hon Chelle in 2019.
“When he assumed office he promised to look into the welfare of the staff.
“In 2020, the Commission budget was raised to N7.2b to accommodate the CONLESS
“In 2019, the Commission budget was N4.2 billion and the staff strength was not up to 3,114 and the issue of migrating from CONPSS to CONLESS came up.
“But the tenure of the last administration elapsed in April, 2021 and the new administration of Yusuf came on board.
“And instead of following up with the implementation, he started employing new staff till date.
“Staff were told that CONLESS would be implemented in 2021 as soon as the Commission budget is increased.
“The former administration fought for it and the Commission budget was increased to N7.2 b and everyone was happy and we were informed that CONLESS has been approved.
“In the year 2022, the Commission’s budget was increased to N11.4 b in order to implement CONLESS payment.
“After much pressure and follow up by the union, approval for CONLESS was issued by salaries and wages commission, effective from October, 2022, with a staff strength of 3, 214 approved but he refused to pay and employed more staff daily.
“Starting from January 2022, he decided to pay 25% of CONLESS after much pressure from staff, which almost led to fighting at the headquarters”, the source added.
Another staff of PCC explained that the Chief Commissioner, while pleading with staff that in January, 2023 CONLESS implementation would commence, he went ahead and over blotted the staff strength to about 4,000 plus which made him not to be able to pay CONLESS.
Contacted for reaction on the issue, the Chief Commissioner of the PCC, Mr Abimbola Ayo Yusuf explained that efforts are being made to ensure the full implementation of CONLESS, stressing however that provisions were not made for such in previous budgets.
Ayo Yusuf pointed out it was out of his sheer determination and respect that he has for the staff that part of the money earmarked for the running of the office was set aside for the implementation of the 25 percent of the CONLESS for the staff.
He explained that beyond the approval given by the Senate, the nod of the Salary and Wages Commission and the government was still needed for the full implementation of the new salary structure.