OYO STATE: PRESS STATEMENT
OYO STATE: PRESS STATEMENT
SUSTAINED STRUGGLE OF WORKERS WILL GUARANTEE N18, 000 MINIMUM WAGE
Immediate mass mobilization towards the nationwide general strike is needed!
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) Oyo State Chapter call on the mass of Oyo State workers to remain steadfast in the struggle for the new N18,000 minimum wage. We join the mass of Oyo workers to reject the position of the state government of paying a “relativity salary” of N 9,400 for the month of June with an empty promise that the arrears will be paid as soon as the on-going negotiations with the labour leaders on what to pay as minimum wage are concluded. This argument is unfounded and deceitful, thus the leadership of the Joint Public Service Negotiating Committee (JPSNC) must not betray the expectation of mass of workers in the state who have already collected N18,000 minimum wage for the month of May.
We maintain that the decisions of the mass of workers remain supreme in their collective struggles. Workers hold the power to appoint and elect the leadership that would defend their interests in their struggles. The Oyo workers have already demonstrated this in their Friday 8 July, 2011 congress where they democratically elected a seven-man Congress Committee to moderate the congress and prosecute the minimum wage struggle in the absence of the state labour leadership. The Congress Committee should link up with the state labour leadership and mount pressure on them so that they would not come back to workers with another rotten compromise.
We hold that the Congress Committee should also serve as the strike committee and kick start immediate mass mobilization of workers and sensitization of the public for mass support towards the incoming nationwide general strike for the implementation of the new minimum wage after the expiration of two weeks’ ultimatum the national labour leadership has given to the government. Therefore, there should be immediate plans worked out for various mass activities like rallies, symposia and mass distribution of leaflets before and during the strike. The strike committee should also be replicated at the local government level and in workplaces.
The deceitful attitude of the state government toward the implementation of N18,000 has confirmed the position we have always maintained it will take the determined struggle of workers before the current ACN-led state government could implement the N18, 000 minimum wage. We commend the courage of workers in the state who have rejected the ridiculous proposal of N9400 in their mass congresses. Therefore the state labour leadership should not have further illusions in promises of the ACN governors to pay minimum wage to their workers. They should learn a positive lesson from the way they were stoned by rank and file workers and realize that N18,000 minimum wage is not negotiable as far as Oyo workers is concerned.
We therefore call on state labour leadership to build up the mass struggle of workers for the payment of N18,000 without falling into the antics of the state government for any “relativity pay”. Some labour leaders have expressed the fear that leading workers to the streets could lead to a peaceful demonstration being hijacked by miscreants. While we agree to this possibility it is not a tenable excuse to kill the idea of mass protests to drive home demand for a better pay. Workers in the state and elsewhere have in the past organized mass protests without being hijacked by the miscreants. What should be done is for action committee of workers and pro-labour activists to be formed to control and coordinate the mass protests and guide against the possibility of the action being hijacked by miscreants.
As we in the DSM have always maintained, the major anti-poor political parties, PDP, CPC, ACN, APGA and Labour Party (LP) – in power across the federation – cannot represent the interests of the working masses. While all the governors elected from these parties claim to be in economic distress, the jumbo pay being collected by the political office holders and their hangers-on is not reduced.
We call on trade unions to immediately set into motion the building of a genuine mass working peoples’ political alternative that will defend the interests of the working masses. This is more so given that the Labour Party formed by the NLC has become another anti-poor political party.
In order to guarantee a living wage for workers and meet the social needs of the mass of ordinary people as well as infrastructure and genuine economic development, such a party being advocated by the DSM will embrace a socialist programme which will put the commanding heights of the economy under democratic working class control. The public office holders on the platform of such party will receive wage of an average skilled worker and be subject to recall by the working people. We hold that the miseries inflicted by the current disorderly capitalist arrangement cannot be ended without such a party emerging and taking power. On this basis, we in the DSM strive to bring together working class forces to challenge capitalism.