DSM Supports Osun Tertiary Institutions workers’ Strike
Osun education struggles
DSM Supports Osun Tertiary Institutions workers’ Strike
- Struggle must go beyond sit-at-home strike
- For a collective struggle for better education funding
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Osun State Chapter, hereby condemns the arrogance of the Osun State government to the current strike of the academic and non-academic staff at the four state-owned tertiary institutions. We call on the state government to immediately accede to the demands of the education workers. We believe that workers have right to seek for improvement in their living and working conditions, more so that politicians in power continue to live extravagantly on public resources while public infrastructures continue to rot away.
The lecturers in the state owned tertiary institutions (Polytechnics and Colleges of Education), just like their colleagues nationally, had demanded the implementation of the national wage increase approved since 2009. This salary scale (COMPOCASS) is an improvement over the previous CONTISS which gives some percentage increase on their salaries. Under a responsible government, implementation of a salary increase approved since 2009 should have received immediate government attention. Already, the lecturers in the state tertiary institutions are poorly paid. With rot in teaching and learning facilities in the tertiary education in the state, the government should have seen a link between the welfare of the lecturers and improvement in the standards. In fact, the COMPOCASS itself is already old, as there is a new national wage scale.
But it is clear that the state government is not ready for a holistic development of education in the state, otherwise the Aregbesola government should not have maintained what is clearly a criminal silence on the over three month old strike. Rather than accede to the lecturers’ demands, the Aregbesola administration has been trying to discredit the workers. For instance, in a failed attempt to discredit their legitimate demands, the state government has been accusing the lecturers of working for the opposition party as if it is the opposition party that will collect the wage increment.
The blame for the strike and the destruction of the education should be placed at the doorstep of the governments at all levels which, despite allocating billions to the education sector in the budgets, have refused to make any fundamental improvement in the state of education. While the Osun State government proclaims free education in the state, primary and post-primary schools are still in their rotten state with lack of basic facilities and inadequate teaching hands, which has made even petty traders to send their wards to mushroom private schools, which are merely business centres. The so-called paltry school fee reduction in the state owned tertiary institutions has not reflected in improved funding for these institutions, thus making nonsense of the reduction as students have to pay for the use of the facilities.
It will be recalled that the attitude the Aregbesola government to the lecturers’ strike is similar to its attitude to the just ended the health workers in the state which lasted for over five months with the enormous consequence on the lives of the poor people in the state.
For a state government that has refused to make any fundamental improvement in the living conditions of the people in the state despite billions that have accrued to the purse of the state, at least payment of workers’ wages should not be a problem. But it seems the government has somewhere else it is spending the resources of the state on.
We in DSM reject the bankrupt approach to governance by the Aregbesola government, which is following the dangerous and ruinous path of the ousted Oyinlola government. We hereby demand immediate the following:
1. Immediate concession to the demands of the education workers in the state owned tertiary institutions in the state.
2. Massive improvement in facilities in our schools from primary to tertiary levels in the state.
3. No to ‘bogus’ fee reduction; for free and quality education at all levels in the state.
4. Reduction of the salaries of political office holders to the levels of workers; and using the resources freed-up to provide the improvement in facilities in the education sector
5. Public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy under the democratic control of the working people.
Beyond the Sit-at-Home Strike
However, we in DSM enjoin the striking workers not to limit their struggle to just a sit-at-home strike. Rather we implore them to organize mass campaigns that will popularize the struggle among the general populace. This is important when viewed against the background that the government has all instruments of propaganda that will be deplored against the workers. Furthermore, the aim of the strike is not to shut down the school system but to compel government to concede to workers’ demands within the shortest possible time. This requires that the striking workers adopt the best strategies that can force government to concede to their demands. As we know, most of the politicians’ children hardly attend public schools; therefore they will be less concerned about a strike that does not fundamentally affect them. The best way the ruling class can be defeated is when workers organize mass actions such as protest marches, public enlightenment campaign, and joint actions with other strata of the society. We propose that the striking workers should mobilize their members for mass protests and rallies across the state. Also, there is need to organize mass enlightenment campaign especially through issuing out of leaflets, posters, etc, media campaigns etc, which will popularize the demands of workers. Moreover, they need to reach out to students’ groups and other workers’ unions with a view to let them understand the demands and support the struggle. With this, it will be possible to mobilize the rank and file of the oppressed people behind the striking workers. This is the best way the government can be compelled to implement the wage demand to the letter; otherwise the striking workers could be vulnerable to official blackmail in the public as the strike get elongated.
The striking workers must also realize that they cannot limit their demand to question of wage increment alone; they need to raise the general demands affecting the state of education vis-Å•-vis under funding of schools, lack of adequate facilities, etc. This point is important because without the provision of adequate facilities including well-stocked libraries and laboratories, among others, in schools, education workers will be working under terrible conditions.
While we DSM fully support the struggle and demands of the striking workers, fundamentally, workers must realize that no amount of salary increase under the current capitalist can give permanent and sustainable better living conditions, because the capitalist governments in power in the country will always find means of taking back through the left hand whatever they give worker with the right hand. This is why we in DSM are campaigning that the commanding heights of the economy should be put under the democratic control and management of the working and oppressed people organized from the grassroots to the national level, which will direct public resources to public needs. None of the present capitalist political parties or politicians in power can do this. This is why working and oppressed people need their own mass political party that will put public resources under public ownership.
If you are dissatisfied with all the anti-worker, anti-poor capitalist policies of governments at all levels, and you are interested in a fight back against these policies, the organization to join is the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM). We are a socialist organization that believes that workers should organize themselves under militant labour movement and a political banner to contest political power with the capitalist governments in power today; they can defeat the government and its policies. We canvass that workers and their unions must fight for a socialist society where the commanding heights of the economy will be collectively owned and democratically controlled for the interests of the majority and not that of the minority as is being witnessed currently under capitalism. To this end, we participate in the mass movements of workers and the oppressed people. We participate in workers’ movement such as the Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO), students’ movement and community movements. If you believe in our cause, and you want to join us, contact us through either of the below addresses or emails. You can also donate to our organization to further the struggle for a better society.