Osun State Salary Payment: Struggle Pays
Osun State Salary Payment: Struggle Pays
Workers’ fight starts to produce results
But one month’s salary is too little, too late. Aregbesola govt. should immediately pay all outstanding salaries, allowances, pensions and gratuities
Workers must be steadfast in the struggle to guarantee full payment
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Osun State Chapter, commends the public sector workers in Osun State for their steadfastness in the struggle for immediate payment of their seven month salary arrears. This struggle has already won its first victory, by compelling the Rauf Aregbesola-led government to pay one month’s salary out of seven months owed, and some installments of pensions. This shows that struggle pays; and when working and oppressed people decide to take their destinies in their hands through collective struggle, they have a chance to win. Had there not been public outcry and strike actions by workers, coupled with protests by pensioners and other groups, the Aregbesola-led Osun State government might not have cared about the excruciating suffering which workers, pensioners, their families and dependants are going through.
As we commend workers for going thus far in the struggle, we want to reiterate our position that the leadership of the labour movement in the state should go beyond the sit-at-home strike. Particularly now, having won a small victory, labour must press home its advantage, continue with its offensive and force more retreats from the state government. While we agree that strike action is one of the potent tools to compel employers to hearken to the demands of workers, we believe that workers may need more than sit-at-home strike action to compel a very unyielding and patently anti-worker government like that of current Aregbesola-led Osun State government, to concede to workers’ demands. This is why we have been advocating mass actions like protests, rallies, pickets, press campaign,etc. to back up the strike by building wider support.
While we welcome and support the decision of the NLC leadership not to call off the current industrial strike on the basis of payment of just one month’s salary, out of about eight, we enjoin labour movement to take the road of mass struggle and actions. This is the surest way of ensuring that the Aregbesola government does not use the payment of one month salary as an alibi to deny payment of other months.
Furthermore, we in the DSM deplore the fact that the Aregbesola government only paid a month salary, which, by the reality on ground, will be swallowed up by loan repayment. The same government created this debilitating situation whereby workers’ salaries are swallowed by loans and debts, through its non-payment of salaries as at when due, and withholding of loan already deducted from workers’ salaries. It is thus cruel for the government to limit payment of salary to just a month, knowing fully well that most workers would have nothing from it as the money cannot cover loan and debt repayment.
We similarly condemn a situation whereby government dips its hands into deductions from workers’ salaries meant for Banks’ and Cooperatives’ loans repayment and pension funds. This is tantamount to a financial crime. It should be stopped forthwith; and all money wrongfully and illegally held in this respect by the government should be paid immediately.
We call on Aregbesola government to immediately begin the full payment of all salaries and allowances of workers as well as pensions and gratuities of pensioners. We find the excuse of lack of funds as mere smokescreen. The recent announcement by the government that it will cut salaries of political appointees by 50 percent, clearly confirms our position that one of the means by which state resources is being wasted is through bogus salaries and allowances for political appointees. We maintain our demand that political appointees should be on same salary scale with workers in the civil service.
We reiterate our commendation for Justice Folahanmi Oloyede for openly standing with workers in their struggle for end to government-induced misery. We call for a public probe, democratically formed, involving elected representatives of workers’ unions, pensioners’ unions, student movement as well as relevant professionals, etc. to probe how Aregbesola government had mismanaged the state resources.
Furthermore, we call on leadership of labour movement nationally to begin mass mobilization against continued denial of workers’ right to their salaries by many state governments, humongous emoluments for politicians as well new austerity measures like the planned fuel price hike through the so-called oil subsidy removal.
- State Secretary