Unpaid Workers’ Salaries:
Unpaid Workers’ Salaries:
Labour Must Provide A Steadfast Leadership for Mass Resistance against Fresh Neo-liberal Economic Attacks
We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria join the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to condemn the widespread non-payment of workers’ salaries by state governments and the Federal Government. We view the fact that about 11 state governments have refused and neglected to pay November and December salaries of workers as a great assault on the living conditions of the working class.
We support the directive of the NLC to its state chapters in Benue, Plateau and Osun States to issue ultimatums on their respective state governments, which have refused to pay their workers for between three and eight months! The Osun state government has however shamelessly claimed that it owes two months and not three months as alleged by the NLC. We condemn the Jonathan-led Federal Government for the non-payment of Federal Government workers in the ministries of Education, Labour and Productivity and the other Federal Departments and Agencies. Therefore, similar ultimatums must be issued by the relevant industrial unions in the public sector against the federal government.
We of the SPN view these latest attacks as part of the efforts of the capitalist ruling elite to hurl the burden of economic crisis in the face of fall in the crude oil prices on the backs of the working people. We call on the NLC and TUC leadership to begin to build a serious mass resistance, including mass protest and possibly a one-day warning general strike, against the non-payment of worker salaries and other likely anti-poor austerity measures by the federal and state governments. The labour leadership must not allow the government to make the poor and working people paying for an economic crisis brought upon by the failure of the entire capitalist ruling elite.
We support the call of the labour leadership for cut in outrageous pay of top government functionaries of the government at all levels. We however call on the labour leadership to also demand a reduction in the fuel price given the sharp slump in crude oil price and a new national minimum wage. Labour must concretely propose figures for new fuel price and minimum wage and prepared to struggle for their actualization.
However, the attempt by the ruling elite in all pro-establishment parties to make poor and working people, who did not benefit when the crude oil price was high, pay for the crisis of capitalism has further underscored the imperative of a working people political alternative.
We view the statement credited to the NLC leadership that workers should vote out anti-worker politicians as hiding behind a finger in the face of the absence of a genuine working peoples’ political alternative. The total degeneration of the Labour Party into an out-and-out party of anti-worker politicians should be a sobering point for the NLC to abandon illusions in reclaiming the party through such means of instituting Caretaker Committee. Rather, they should kick-start the process of building a new working people’s party. While we hold that the forthcoming 2015 elections is another lost opportunity for the labour movement, we call for immediate steps to begin building a real working people’ party that can offer an alternative to the existing parties through the convocation of a Political Conference of trade unions, left parties, socialist groups and the pro-masses’ organisations by the leadership of the NLC and TUC.
We hold that it is the upturning of the current capitalist arrangement in Nigeria by the working people and the enthronement of a working people government anchored on a democratic socialist programme that can permanently end the suffering amidst plenty. The Socialist Party of Nigeria combines its ongoing struggle for registration with the campaign for a genuine mass working people’s political party to achieve this task. We call on workers and youth to join us in the struggle against austerity policies and for a working peoples’ political alternative.