The government needs to understand what they can do and what they cannot do.
Last month, on October 27, during a press conference the finance minister announced that, “… while tshogpas deserve a raise, there is not enough money to raise their salary.” Furthermore, he clarified that, “an increment in the salary should be approved by the Pay Commission.”
So basically, we were told that the government can’t increase tshogpa salaries because (1) they don’t have enough money; and (2) the Pay Commission would have to approve any increase.
But last week, on November 16, the government announced that they had increased the salary of tshogpas to Nu 5,000 per month. And that that increase was decided by the cabinet.
So basically, now we are made to understand that (1) the government has enough money to increase tshogpa salaries; and (2) the Pay Commission does not have to approve that increase.
In fact, here’s what the government can do: increase tshogpa salaries. Why? Because tshogpas were being paid below the national minimum wage. So whether tshogpas deserved a raise or not, and whether the government had enough money or not, their salaries had to be increased to at least equal the national minimum wage level.
But here’s what the government cannot do: increase tshogpa salaries unilaterally. Why? Because only the Pay Commission has the authority to recommend increases in the salaries of public servants, including tshogpas who are members of the local government.
That’s why I called for tshogpa salaries to be increased, but objected that the government does not have the authority to do so unilaterally.
In order to ensure that the increased salaries of the tshogpas are lawful, the government should constitute a Pay Commission immediately to recommend revisions to the tshogpa salaries. There’s enough time for their recommendations to be approved by the government, and submitted to the next session of the Parliament.