CRIN IBADAN: Mass Struggle of Workers and Community People forced Management and government to Reve
CRIN IBADAN: Mass Struggle of Workers and Community People forced Management and government to Reverse Attacks
- CRIN Struggle and its Lessons are of Essence to Labour Movement Today
By Abbey Trotsky, Coordinator, CDWR, Oyo State
Following the six-week of spirited struggle of workers of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) Ibadan with support of the host community that forced the inglorious exist of Prof. Malacky Akoroda as the executive director and the appointment of Dr (Mrs) Abiodun Okelana in acting capacity on December 17, 2015, normal activities were immediately restored in the institute. However, agitations for the immediate implementation of other demands continue.
These include: immediate and unconditional reinstatement of the 95 sacked workers of the institute and activities of proscribed unions in the institute; regular and timely promotion of staffs in accordance with public service rules; end to corruption, embezzlements, attack on democratic rights and mismanagement of the resources meant for the adequate and effective running of the institute and immediate payment of October and September, 2013 salaries of workers in the institute.
It will be recalled that NASU, the union to which the sacked workers belong, had been challenging the CRIN management at the federal industrial court since 2014 over the arbitrary sack of the 95 workers of the institute. Unfortunately given the cumbersome nature of Nigeria’s judiciary system and the refusal of the NASU leadership to organize sustained political action to mount pressure on the judiciary, management and government, the legal battle was not able to yield any significant result.
This sustained agitation no doubt forced the Okelana-led administration in less than two weeks of its inception to set up a committee comprising of leaders of the struggle and some members of the management. The committee worked out a modality for resolution of all pending issues with a specific recommendation for the reinstatement of the sacked workers and the proscribed union activities. In line with the recommendation of the committee the Okelana-led management wrote the federal industrial court soliciting for out of court settlement as the first step to be taken towards the reinstatement of the sacked workers.
This is the step that led to the process that culminated in the agreement on the terms of settlement which was reported to the court on the 28th January, 2016 and got the nod of the court. According to these terms of settlement, all the 95 sacked workers are to be reinstated with immediate confirmation of their appointment and possible promotion. All salaries arrears are also agreed to be paid. As a matter of fact, it was agreed that, they will be entitled to February salary because the whole agreement is expected to take effect from 1st of February, 2016.
While none of the sacked workers is yet to be issued any letter of reinstatement as we go to press, the truth of the matter is that the agreement has become a legal document which must be respected by both the government and CRIN management.
These concessions which months of legal action failed to achieve are a very instructive lesson for labour movement and its leadership today. This has showed that as commendable as legal battle may be in the struggle for the defense of workers right, it can not be a substitute to a mass action embarked upon by workers. Political actions are usually replete with potential to encourage and embolden workers in the pursuit of the collective aspiration and interest.
This is why we of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR), have been organizing various forms of political activities, right from 2013 when Prof. Akoroda launched his attacks on workers right in the institute to show to the leadership of the trade union particularly the national leadership of NASU, the need for serious and purposeful political actions to defeat the Akoroda’s anti-workers disposition which was then at its infant stage.
The CDWR initiated independent actions after several letters and appeals to the leadership of trade union which did not yield any result. Eventually, workers themselves got inspired by the consistent action and campaign of the CDWR, and on the 2nd November, 2015 embarked on a struggle which was massively supported by members of the host community and sustained despite all forms of intimidations by different sections of the state security agencies until the despotic regime of Prof. Malacky Akoroda was outrightly terminated.
Going by this background, it is obvious that, the CRIN struggle is no doubt replete with so many lessons which are definitely of essence to labour movement today especially now that it is obvious that contradictions inherent in the Nigeria capitalist economy will sooner or later drive the labour movement into the arena of struggle in the coming period. In view of this, a public symposium to appraise the gains, pains and lesson of the CRIN struggle will remain the most credible way to celebrate the end of despotic rule of Akoroda-led administration in the institute.
The CDWR uses this medium to express its fraternal appreciation to labour organizations, civil society organizations, individuals and general public who at one time or the other lent support and solidarity to the CRIN struggle. We urge individuals who are impressed with the work and method of CDWR and interested to join us to contact the following numbers: 09098284000; 08033914091; 0805304595.