Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

UNPAID SALARIES: TIME FOR A COORDINATED MASS WORKERS FIGHTBACK


UNPAID SALARIES: TIME FOR A COORDINATED MASS WORKERS FIGHTBACK

NLC and TUC Must Declare a 24-Hour Warning National Strike as the Next Step

We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) call on the national leadership of the two trade union centres, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) (of both the two factions) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), to immediately call a one-day warning nationwide strike action with mass protests over the gale of unpaid salaries of workers across the country. This should be the next step in the struggle over the issue which has already broken out in a number of states.

We welcome the directive by Ayuba Wabba, the factional President of the NLC, in his May Day speech to labour leadership in the affected states to embark on individual action. We however hold that it is not good enough. Given the scale and spread of this callous attack on the livelihood of workers, centrally coordinated activities of the struggle are the minimum required of the national labour leadership. Unleashing the might of Nigerian workers with a warning national strike as part of centrally planned actions by the national labour leadership can help force the defaulting state governments to pay the salaries.

While the unpaid salaries affect the only public sector unions, which belong to Ayuba Wabba’s faction of the NLC, we call on the Joe Ajaero’s faction to ensure that it declares open support and holds solidarity action whenever strike or any action is declared by the Wabba’s faction nationally and at state level.

In the affected states, workers are owed as much as 6-months’ salaries. The states include Osun, Oyo, Kogi, Cross River, Rivers, Abia, Benue, Plateau, Bauchi and Delta states. It is unfortunate that the national labour leadership did not act early enough to stem this malady especially at a period before the general elections when the anti-poor politicians were desperately soliciting votes of the workers. However this struggle can still be won if a spirited, uncompromising leadership is provided by the top labour hierarchy.

We call on workers in the affected states, especially the APC controlled ones, not to be swayed by the horrendous argument that their refusal to pay is caused by the drop in federal allocations under the outgoing Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP regime. This argument is a half-truth. While it is true that there is a decline in monthly federal allocation as a result of drop in oil revenue, it is the characteristic profligacy of the anti-poor capitalist politicians especially in the election year which is the main reason why many governors are unable to pay the salaries. Take for instance Rauf Aregbesola, Osun state governor, who has not paid workers since November 2014, was the Southwest coordinator of the APC presidential campaign in the most expensive electioneering in Nigeria.

The fact that the states that currently owe workers’ salaries cut across both PDP and APC is a further confirmation that there is no fundamental difference between the two main anti-poor capitalist parties. This is one of the reasons we have consistently called for building of a genuine mass working people’s political alternative that encompasses the entire labour movement and stands on a clear fighting programme to resist neo-liberal attacks against workers and pose a sharp democratic socialist alternative of galvanizing the enormous resources of society to meet the basic needs of the working masses.

We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) are energetically building the party as a striking example of a genuine working people’s political alternative. We call on workers and youth to join us in building the SPN as well as in the campaign for a mass working people political alternative.

Segun Sango
National Chairperson, SPN
Email: socialistpartyofnigeria@yahoo.com