THE SEVEN DAY UTIMATUM/THREAT OF STRIKE ISSUED BY THE OYO STATE COUNCIL OF NLC IS NECESSARY AND LONG
THE SEVEN DAY UTIMATUM/THREAT OF STRIKE ISSUED BY THE OYO STATE COUNCIL OF NLC IS NECESSARY AND LONG-OVERDUE
- We Call for an Immediate General Congress of Workers in the state and a 24-hour Warning Strike with Protest Rallies as a prelude to total strike!
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) Oyo State chapter welcomes the decision of the leadership of the Oyo State council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to issue a 7-day ultimatum to Abiola Ajimobi-led government over salaries arrears failing which workers may embark on strike action to further press home their demands.
The demand of workers is the full payment of over four months’ salaries arrears the state government owes various categories of civil servants in the state. We call on the state government to avert the workers’ strike by immediately meeting the legitimate demands of workers.
We at the same time condemn the statement credited to the spokesperson of the Oyo State APC-led government that the 7-day ultimatum which lapses on the 7th April, 2016 is “not necessary and uncalled for”.
This kind of statement has once again revealed the retrogressive nature of the Oyo State APC-led government and how insensitive it has been, since its inception, to the plights and aspirations of the state civil servants. Due to the non-payment of salaries by the state government the public sector workers are increasingly finding it difficult to continue to meet their ever growing basic financial responsibility like payment of school fees of children and medical bills for themselves and sick members of their family.
In spite of this and other forms of socio-economic pains, the Oyo State workers are currently going through, the APC-led state government, which has failed to pay civil servant their meagre monthly salaries since October 2015, has come out to say that it has not flouted the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) it signed with the labour leaders a few months ago. Asides the fact that this is an indictment on the labour leaders, it also reveals that the so called MOU is futile and at variance with the interest and aspiration of the Oyo State workers. Hence, there is need for the state labour leadership to immediately repudiate such an MOU and insist on the immediate payment of all salaries arrears since October 2015.
For the umpteenth time, we find the excuse of the government that there is no money to pay workers as simply ridiculous and untrue. SPN believes that, despite the decline in the federal allocation, the Oyo state government has the capacity to pay workers in the state and still implement tangible projects capable of bringing meaning improvement in the condition of living of the people of the state.
This is however possible only if the political office holders are ready to cut down their outrageously high salaries and allowances as well as opulent life style with a view to adopt a lifestyle that will be equivalent to that of the working people. The state must also stop corrupt practices, wastages and inflation of contracts, high cost of governance in order to free up resources for developmental projects and wellbeing of the citizenry.
This is why we often warn the labour leaders not to enter into any agreement or MOU that will short-change the interest of its members with the government under the guise of economic downturn. Especially when it’s obvious that the working people benefited practically nothing from the surpluses accrued to the state during the period of economic boom.
Instead, we insist that the labour leaders must prevail on the political office holders to cut down their over bloated salaries; allowances and opulent life style. In addition to this, they must also demand a democratic management and control of the state allocations and IGR by a board that will comprise the elected representative of workers, professionals, students, artisans and government representative.
Except the labour leaders follow this cause of action, the ruling elites across the various bourgeois political parties (PDP, APC, ACCORD, LP, APGA) at states and national level who have at different occasions been accused to have looted and squandered some of the gains made possible during the long period of economic boom would not hesitate to unite in ensuring that the working people are made the scapegoat of their profligacy and financial recklessness.
It is in the aspiration to ensure that this kind of economic injustice and crime against the working people is forestalled that SPN welcomes the 7-day ultimatum with a threat of strike issued by the Oyo State council of NLC. However, we at the same time urge the leadership of the council to go beyond just a mere media declaration!
This means that they must begin immediate mass mobilization of workers in the state for a 24 hour warning strike as a prelude to a total strike, should the Ajimobi- led government fails to accede to their demand by the expiration of 7-day ultimatum it has been given. As a start, we call on labour leaders to call a General Congress of Workers in Oyo State to deliberate on the best strategy to be adopted toward making the struggle a huge success.