2016 May Day: Workers Celebrate Day Amidst Unpaid Salaries and Rising Cost of Living
2016 May Day: Workers Celebrate Day Amidst Unpaid Salaries and Rising Cost of Living
By Peluola Adewale
This year’s May Day was held at a period when a majority of states, 24 according to the Vanguard newspaper, owe workers backlogs of salaries. Even those who collected salaries have seen their wage eroded by inflation and foreign exchange crisis that has increased cost of goods and services. It is against this background that the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress formally proposed a new minimum wage of N56,000 a few days before the May Day. Besides, the current minimum wage of N18,000 that was signed into law in 2011 is already statutorily due for a review.
Perhaps with exception of main May Day rally in Abuja, usually attended by federal government workers who are not owed salaries, there was no enthusiasm about the new minimum wage demand in virtually other rallies. In a situation where the labour leaders have, in the main, been unwilling to fight for the payment of current wages there is understandable skepticism about their willingness to seriously fight for higher wages. It was in anticipation of such passive mood that the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) in its May Day message had called on labour leadership to organize struggles against unpaid salaries while at the same agitate for a new minimum wage which is long overdue. The statement also emphasized that without struggle the new minimum wage cannot be won, but went on to argue that “winning these demands will require the active mobilization of labour’s grass roots both to mobilize support and to counter any backsliding by those labour leaders willing to abandon labour’s demands.”
The unpaid salaries and lack of struggles by labour to reverse the situation could explain why there were lower turnouts compared to last years. Besides, the enthusiasm that greeted the victory of Muhammadu Buhari that pervaded atmosphere at last year May Day has evaporated given the failure of the government to meet the aspirations of working people. Indeed the situation has gotten worse with poorer power supply why consumers are asked to pay higher tariff as well as fuel scarcity that has lasted several months.
Still no date for planned protest
The leadership of NLC has still not named a date for general strike and mass protest over the issues several weeks after they had announced the plan. Just before May Day NLC President Wabba claimed that the delay was because “labour wants Nigerians to feel the pain of the new tariff, so that when the call for a nationwide strike is made, Nigerians will fully appreciate and support it” (Leadership newspaper, April 28, 2016). But there has been no serious campaigning to build popular support for the action. Wabba’s own May Day address simply vaguely stated that “we have a mandate â€¦ that should this intransigence on the part of government, the DISCOS and GENCOS continue, we must prepare to hold a national strike to force the reversal of the latest increases.” As is often the case, the NLC leaders drag their feet when it comes to translating words into action.
For second year running workers celebrated this May Day with a divided labour movement. The mainstream NLC faction led by Ayuba Wabba together with TUC held its main rally in Abuja while Joe Ajaero’s faction did it in Lagos. However in some states the two factions celebrated the rallies together. While this was a positive development the division is still palpable at the national level and many states. We reiterate our calls for unity of the NLC on the basis of struggle for improved welfare of workers and against attacks on the working people. Hence, there should be united struggles on a new minimum wage, electricity tariff, fuel scarcity, casualization etc.
In addition, there is constant need by rank and file workers and poor masses to step up fight against all anti-poor policies and attacks on workers democratic rights and payment of irregular workers’ wages.
Members of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) and the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) participated at the 10 May Day rallies across the country namely Abuja, Onikan Lagos, Yaba Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Rivers, Anambra, Kano and Kaduna. In some cases there were only small numbers involved in spreading socialist ideas but significantly members of the SPN, who are not also DSM comrades, were actively involved in the intervention in Kano and Kaduna. Indeed, in Kaduna it was only members of SPN that participated in the rally while in Kano only one of those who intervened was a DSM comrade. One of SPN members actually travelled down from Jigawa to Kano for the May Day rally.
In Anambra, Southeast Nigeria, where we could not get written report of our intervention for a technical reason, the May Day rally was said to be a jamboree where politicians and igwes (traditional chiefs) stole the show. Nevertheless, well over 1,000 copies of the SPN leaflet were circulated while 21 copies of Socialist Democracy (SD) were sold. This is significant as it was only one comrade, who just commenced his national youth corps service in the state, intervened at the rally.
Nationwide about 15,000 copies of the SPN leaflet calling for a 24 hour general strike and mass protest were circulated while many copies of Socialist Democracy (SD), DSM pamphlet on the Perennial Fuel Scarcity and SPN Manifesto were sold. About N30,000 was realized from the sale of the materials.
Below are reports by DSM members of what happened at different May Day rallies and some of the interventions.
Abuja May Day Report
By Dimeji Maculay
We joined the workers in the May Day rally at Eagles square in the Federal Capital Territory. Members of the DSM arrived at the venue as early as 8am not knowing that the program was set to start by 10am. This was because being Sunday workers were expected to go to church to worship before coming to May Day. However, the crowd of workers that came as early as we did show that the workers came with hope to go home with good news of a new minimum wage by federal government. But there was on it by the President who sent the minister of Labour and Productivity, who was accompanied by the minister of Federal Capital Territory, to represent him.
As we reached the venue we did a stall to distribute our leaflets and we started circulating and relating to workers many of whom were not happy with the failure of the change mantra of the Buhari regime, that is now eleven months in office, to produce results.
We decided to use the medium to recruit workers to our party since there is no alternative for the poor and the working class and the present situation has revealed that the government cannot move Nigeria out of the present quagmire. As we started circulating our Socialist Party of Nigeria leaflets, we also continue to display our publications.
Many workers agreed with us on a one-day general strike but some were critical of our position on the idea of protest. We took time to explain that struggle for new minimum wage and better living conditions can hardly be won on platter of gold. A protest action and general strike will send a strong message to government that workers need pay rise.
Many groups and different unions came to the venue with different placards with various slogans and demands around issues relating to corruption and better welfare.
The two ministers that were present in their speeches never raised anything new or that could make the workers hopeful that the new minimum wage will come anytime soon. Labour leaders also presented their demands, but left open the issue of how to win them. However, only mass struggle can force the government to meet the demands of workers presented by NLC and TUC Presidents
Nineteen copies of Socialist Democracy (SD, three copies of Perennial Fuel Shortages and two copies of Socialist Party Of Nigeria (SPN) Manifesto were sold. We also circulated about two thousand copies of SPN leaflet calling on the labour leaders to lead a fight against the present socio-economic problem. Four comrades of SPN participated in the rally.
A day before, on Saturday April 30, we participated at the pre-May Day symposium where we sold materials worth two thousand six hundred naira.
By Fidel Davynovich
Members of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) fully participated at the May Day rally held at in Onikan Stadium with materials like Socialist Democracy (SD) March/April, 2016 publication, SPN May Day leaflet and the pamphlet on the Perennial Fuel Scarcity issue.
While the workers were coming in before the celebration commences, DSM members who were present went round to circulate the leaflet, sell our publications and discuss with workers on their view about the recent fuel scarcity, which has attracted fundamental discuss in the media and even in the street. Some of the workers who stood to collect the SPN leaflet and even when shown interest to buy the Socialist Democracy (SD) paper, registered displeasure over the inability of the Buhari government to resolve this contradiction.
One of the workers who bought the pamphlet titled Perennial Fuel Scarcity from the table said. “We” the Nigerian masses who voted for Change are expecting the Buhari government to do something over the continual scarcity of petrol at the filling station.
We however tried to make him to understand that the Buhari led APC government operating the philosophy of privatization, won’t do anything to turn around the crisis confronting the oil industry. It is only a socialist program where the commanding heights of the economy are nationalized and placed under workers democratic control that guarantees not only the adequate fuel supply but also the use of resources for benefit of all.
As the conversation went on, some of the workers trooping in in their numbers from different union bearing their Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) T-shirts also stopped by to collect the SPN leaflet to read and understand what it was all about. The security operatives at in the main entrance of the Onikan Stadium, also collected the SPN leaflet. The workers coming in for the May Day rally especially workers from the industrial union under TUC had with them placards that has in it: Buhari, let there be light, pay us our minimum wage, industry need light to function etc.
During the march past which had been the traditional celebration of each May Day held in the country, students of Lagos State University protested with placards under the banner of Education Rights Campaign (ERC) alongside with workers of Nigerian Union Teachers (NUT) who were marching with the demand for improved funding of public education. The ERC members also raised placards with demands in solidarity with students of University of Lagos. Unfortunately, apart from ERC members, no other student came from UNILAG for the action to mobilise public support against attack by the university management.
Other unions who were present at the May Day also raised their placard higher, requesting that the Buhari government should address the issue of epileptic power supply in the country. That many industries depend on power generation to survive. Without this being put in place, the level of unemployment will continue to grow to a height of escalation.
The workers from different unions especially the Industrial union who fly them banners while marching in the field also make their point sharp that a new minimum wage is needed to survive the current rate of inflation.
Members of DSM also joined the march past with the workers with placards to support the demands of workers on the fundamental issues on electricity, unemployment, fuel crisis, housing, food crisis, better funding of public education etc. We were able to sell thirty seven copies of the recent publication of our paper and ten copies of the Perennial Fuel Scarcity pamphlet and circulated over 1000 copies of SPN May Day leaflet.
The Joe Ajaero faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) held its May Day rally in Lagos. The event started with a march from the front of the NLC Secretariat in Yaba to the National Stadium Surulere. The rally which was held at Under Bridge opposite the stadium was sizable but much smaller than what obtained last year. The fact that event was held on Sunday could be a factor. But what is significant is that some of the unions that were originally part of the faction, notably the Textile Labour Union, has returned to the mainstream NLC. There was special mobilization of community people apparently to shore up the crowd. The community people had a few weeks earlier joined the faction of the NLC at the picketing of Ikeja Electric that lasted about a week to protest the sack of over 400 workers by the company.
In his speech Joe Ajaero, the President of this faction, among other things called for the revisit of the privatization of the power sector. This he meant by suggesting that government should invoke necessary clause in the privatization order to stop what he called the negative trend in the power sector. He apparently meant the outright failure of privatization which has brought about an even worse decline in power supply while the consumers have been asked to pay more tariffs.
This position is welcome. However, defeating privatization is not possible by simply appealing to the Buhari government but by mass struggles. Good enough, struggles have broken in many communities in Nigeria against poor supply, estimated billing and tariff hike. All is required now is nationally coordinated action that brings the community struggles together and also links their demands to the need for reversal of electricity privatization. This has to be done by the leadership of the labour movement. This also means that labour movement has to end the current division and be united not just in struggle against electricity privatization, but also other capitalist attacks on the working people.
Good enough, Ajaero apparently appreciated the importance of this as he emphasized the need for unity in his speech. In his words, “we cannot do this [protecting interest of working people] effectively if we remain divided”. He also informed the rally of some progress that has been made towards reuniting the labour movement as some state councils of the NLC celebrated this year May Day “more united as one indivisible congress”.
However, in his speech, Ajaero did not mention anything on Minimum Wage though he lamented the rising cost of goods and service and attendant mass suffering. This was despite the fact that, on May Day itself, the Vanguard newspaper reported him telling a pre-May Day symposium that “on our part, we are demanding N90,000 minimum wage”. Fine words, but last year the Vanguard reported (on May 2, 2015) that Ajaero had called for a N90,000 minimum wage in his May Day speech, but then nothing happened. The minimum wage is a serious issue, workers don’t want to hear nice figures but demand that labour leaders stop playing around and organize a serious struggle or be replaced by leaders will both speak and act.
Well over 1,000 copies of the SPN leaflet were circulated while N4,700 worth of Socialist Democracy (SD) were sold.
Members of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Osun State participated in this year’s Workers’ Day in Osogbo on May 1, 2016. Thirty eight (38) copies of Social Democracy (SD) were sold while hundreds of leaflets of national SPN and local manifesto flier were circulated. Prior to the May Day, we had discussion with the leadership of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), IBEDC Osogbo branch, who are members of the Ajaero-led NLC, on organizing May Day rally. They had planned only a public symposium for the day. However, we did not hear from them again, despite trying to get in touch with them.
On Workers’ Day, we participated in three May Day events organized by the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and both the Ajaero and Wabba factions of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). We were invited to the TUC symposium held at Ola Oni Centre. The symposium had in attendance about forty people, some few workers and artisans. The symposium was poorly mobilized and organized. While the organisers produced a glossy flier for itinerary of the programme, no leaflet or bulletin was produced for workers’ education. While the media was invited, they did not stay till the end of the programme but only interviewed the chairman of TUC, who stated that workers must increase their productivity in order to enjoy better lives. This is like supporting employers’ exploitation of workers under the guise of increasing their productivity. Interestingly, he earlier said workers are the wealth creators. Comrade Alfred, representing the DSM, spoke on the need for workers to organize mass actions against falling standard of living, poor wages, electricity tariff hike and fuel price increase. He also called on workers to start the process of building a new political platform to fight for power, as the main ruling capitalist parties do not represent the interests of the working people. We circulated leaflets and sold eight (8) copies of Socialist Democracy (SD).
We left the TUC symposium to attend the NLC Wabba faction event at Osogbo Stadium, when we ran into the procession/rally of Ajaero-led NLC faction along Ola-Iya. The rally was sparsely attended by about thirty persons. We joined the rally, which consisted mainly of members of NUEE and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG). Comrade Alfred also addressed the rally, urging workers to join forces together to defeat all anti-poor anti-worker policies. He noted that just as it was during the Haymarket event that originally popularized the May Day, so it is today in terms of exploitation and repression of workers’ rights. He also emphasized the need to build a new party of the working people to fight for power. About five copies of Socialist Democracy (SD) were sold while we also circulated the national SPN leaflet. The leadership of the NUEE donated a sum of N5, 000 (five thousand naira) to the DSM at the rally.
At the Wabba-led NLC faction event, we circulated hundreds of national SPN leaflet as well as hundreds of Osun SPN manifesto flier, which was written in English and Yoruba language. The leaflet and flier were well received. About twenty five (25) copies of Socialist Democracy (SD) were sold. While the number of people at the rally was more than that of TUC and Ajaero-led NLC put together, it was a far cry from what was obtainable two years ago. About five hundred, constituting about 10 percent of workers who attended previous May Day rally, attended this year’s rally. The state NLC chairman, Jacob Adekomi only summarized the speech of the national president of NLC Wabba faction. While towards the end of the speech he ‘appealed’ to Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, who was present at the rally, to pay arrears of half salaries owed workers, he did not mince words in eulogizing the governor for so-called ‘pro-worker’ posture. The ‘appeal’ was well received by the long suffering Osun State workers.
However the governor, in his speech, was evasive on when the arrears of half salaries will be paid. In order to divert attention, he claimed to have named local roads in Osogbo after workers. The May Day rally ended without any serious cause for jubilation or hope for workers in the state. Aside our leaflet, flier and SD, there were no other material at the rally. We discussed with various sections of workers, who majorly complained of their plight and openly expressed their frustration. Many workers were inspired by our leaflet and flier, and appreciated our effort.
Clearly, the labour movement is in worse consciousness as the leadership of labour movement, in spite of the huge support base and workers’ readiness to struggle, has disoriented the movement. Clearly, workers need to struggle to take back their unions and run them as democratic, fighting platform. More than this is the need to build a new political platform of the working people in order to give political direction to the struggles of the working people. Such a party must have as its focus the establishment of a working people’s government premised on socialist programmes, and run on democratic basis, if the party must make meaningful impact.
For us in the DSM, we shall organize more activities and actions in the coming period to bring the mass of workers seeking genuine change to the socialist programme and idea. In total, 38 copies of Socialist Democracy (SD) were sold.
By Akande Daniel Babatunde
On 1st of May 2016, members of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) joined Nigerian workers in Kano for celebration of the Workers day.
The May Day Celebration provides an avenue for Nigerian workers to concretely place their demands on how the working and living conditions of the workers could be made better.
We intervened at the rally with special SPN May Day leaflet and Socialist Democracy, the paper of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM).
The security operatives from Nigeria Police and DSS present at the rally did not only collect the leaflet but also helped circulate. They also bought a copy of Socialist Democracy (SD).
Also significant is the warm reception we got from labour leaders and workers, who openly appreciated the idea and intervention of the SPN at the rally. Indeed, part of the leaflet, which shows concern for the plight of workers at this period of monumental suffering by the vast majority working people, was read out by the moderator of the rally while the state governor was already seated. The members of SPN were also openly called to join the march past.
The reception of the SPN would not be unconnected with feeling of discontent over the failure the Buhari government to meet the expectation of the people and the fact the leaflet addresses the issues like poor power supply and high tariff, unpaid salaries, minimum wage casualization, etc. and calls for actions by the labour leaders.
It also shows in the coming period workers hungry of a genuine change will look towards a party like ours it is registered as more and more workers are sharply coming to understand that there is no fundamental difference between both the APC government and their opposition which is PDP.
However, the speeches of the labour leaders reflect their rosy relationship with the state governor. The state NLC chair Aminu Ado Minjibir said that the state government has done more than expected in the area of N18,000 minimum wage, despite not paying the whole actual amount, and commended the governor for not retrenching workers in the state. He however called on the governor to support the new minimum wage which has been proposed as a result of inflation of goods in the market.
On the increase in the electricity tariff, he said “we the Nigeria Labour Union Kano Chapter totally condemn the hike in electricity tariff, as electricity is not visible anywhere, rather darkness had been the product of the Nigeria Electricity Distribution Companies”. He added that “the power companies had flagrantly disobeyed a subsisting court other given by Justice Idris of the Federal High Court against the hike in electricity tariff”.
He also commented on the crisis of unpaid salaries in many states and called on both Federal and state governments to find solution to the problem.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) Chair, Monsuru Adamu, also said a lot about the state of the nation and the need for the federal government to do something meaningful about it as they had voted for change. He also talked about the unpaid salaries of and urged governments to do something about it. What the TUC chair has failed to realize is that there can never be real, lasting change for workers and masses on the basis capitalist philosophy of Buhari government
Finally, the Labour leaders as part of their recent tradition, they presented an award to the governor as well as some workers.
Thousands of SPN leaflet were circulated while 16 copies of Socialist Democracy (SD) were sold.
By Lexan Ali
For the first time in many years, the 2016 May Day celebration in Rivers state was celebrated under a state NLC leadership that is divided against itself, a division that is a byproduct of then unresolved leadership succession bid along the lines of last year’s split in the NLC national leadership.
The split resulted in the May Day celebration in the state being organised separately by the two factional leaderships in two different venues in Port Harcourt. While the leadership of Prince Ada Williams, who is sympathetic to the Joe Ajero leadership of the NLC held their May Day rally at No. 1 Field, along Bende street, the Beatrice Itubo leadership which is sympathetic to the Ayuba Wabba national leadership of NLC, which had the state deputy governor representing the governor in attendance and got all the media attention, held their May Day celebration at Ellakaya stadium.
Not being aware of this situation and split in the state NLC leadership, we had thought the May Day rally will be held at Isaac Boro park, which was the traditional venue where May Day rally has been celebrated for a long time, but on arrival at the park, we were informed it was taking place at the Civic Center at Mosco road. At the Civic Center, we met two workers from the Nigeria Civil Service Union outside waiting for their colleagues and trying to ascertain if Civic Center was the actual venue. From there it was realized we were at a wrong place as some of their members informed them that they were asked by their leaders to converge at the secretariat of the Nigeria Civil Service Union at Mosco road. We got there with workers from unions like the Nigeria Union of Railway workers, National union of Telecommunication employees, National union of Judiciary workers, amongst other unions.
After singing solidarity songs, the workers were addressed by one of the factional state NLC leaders, Prince Ada Williams, who informed workers that they got a directive from the national leadership to hold a street procession or rally to inform the public about worsening plight of Nigeria workers. The street procession marched through Mosco road towards Aggrey road and passed through adjoining streets, with the unions carrying their banners, though without any stated demands and without producing any leaflets, and sang solidarity songs until they got to No. 1 Field, along Ilorin/Bende streets, the venue of May Day rally. The SPN leaflet was also material distributed at the procession and was warmly received by the workers, some of whom collected the leaflet to distribute to their members.
After we arrived at No. 1 Field, few minutes after 10am, we waited a few minutes before other workers and unions like the National Union of Electricity Employee, National Union of Petroleum & Natural Gas workers, Maritime Workers Union, Nigeria Union of Pensioners etc., began to arrive. The theme of the May Day celebration was “Inclusive Socio-economic Space For Sustainable Development”. While the workers and unions reposed a lot of confidence in the leadership of Prince Ada Williams, it was clear from the speech delivered at the May Day rally, that the labour leaders are beholden to any government in power, as the factional chair showered praises on the governor Nyesom Wike. This explains their refusal and inability to build an independent working people’s political alternative and lead a determined fight back against government neo-liberal attacks.
He however he used the occasion to push forward workers’ demands for payment of April salary among other demands that will improve workers conditions.
It was through interaction with a worker that we got to learn about the crisis and split in the state NLC leadership and that the factional leadership was organising a parallel May Day celebration at Ellakaya stadium.
The SPN 2016 May Day leaflet calling for a 24 hour general strike and mass protest was widely circulated and eagerly received by workers. Here 15 copies of the Socialist Democracy were sold. We left the venue few minutes after 1pm in order to catch up with the parallel May Day celebration at Ellakaya stadium, but before arriving there, they had rounded off as workers were seen already leaving the venue. On arrival we began sharing the few remaining leaflets and were able to sell additional three copies of Socialist Democracy.
By Comrade Omo
In Oyo state, the May Day celebration was organized separately at two different venues by both factions of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC. The Wabba faction led by S.W. Olojede organized the usual yearly rally among representatives of its affiliated unions in conjunction with members of the state chapter of Trade Union Congress at the Adamasigba Stadium, located at Mokola Ibadan, the Oyo State Headquarter while the Ajaero’s faction under the leadership of Sulaimon Odunmuyiwa reportedly organized a public symposium at the state secretariat of the Independent Petroleum Marketer Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), located at Apata area still in Ibadan.
At the Adamasigba stadium where members of the Oyo State Chapter of Democratic Socialist Movement, DSM, intervened, the turnout and the participation of the rank and file workers was very poor compared to the previous years. The palpable mood among the few workers who attended the event also showed that nothing is so cheering about the celebration especially when the entire workers and retirees in the state are groaning under backlogs of unpaid salaries and pensions.
These are indication to the fact that Nigeria workers are increasingly more than ever losing interest in the May Day celebration, especially when it is obvious that the day has been turned by the reactionary leadership of the labour movement to an occasion where representatives of exploiters of labour in the government are usually celebrated. Many workers who were engaged in discussions were of the opinion that the attendance and participation in the May Day would have been more massive and encouraging despite the fact that its fell on Sunday had it been the state labour leaders had not betrayed the collective expectation and aspiration of the state workers in the recent period over issues that borders on non-payment salaries and pensions arrears.
Hence, the failure of the state labour leaders to adequately defend the economic and democratic right of the workers and retirees in the state was identified as the major factor responsible for the poor turnout. Many workers who would have loved to participate in the May Day event have been forced to repose faith in God especially when it is obvious that their labour leaders lack the political and ideological will to initiate and lead a political struggle that could have brought an end to some of the induced economic problems under which workers and retirees groan on daily basis.
The existence of this mass anger among the rank and file workers couple with their desire for a way forward is also reflected in the kind of reception and acceptance massively enjoyed by all the publications viz Socialist Democracy, DSM pamphlets, CDWR and SPN leaflets even JAF leaflets which were circulated and exhibited by DSM comrades at the rally.
It also important to state that the materials of DSM also gained a lot of reception among members the security operatives like soldiers and police, DSS and Civil defense who militarised the entire May Day venue under the pretense of a possible terrorist attacks.
The demand of DSM that armed forces and police must be allowed the right to join and form political parties of their choice and have the right to take industrial action to protect their rights gained a tremendous support among the members of the security agencies. Again no fewer than two police officers were of the opinion that a May Day at a period like this when workers and retirees are owed backlogs of salaries and pensions would have been better celebrated by mobilizing workers and retirees in the state by state labour leaders in a protest to demand immediate and unconditional payment of all salaries and pension arrears not by forcing workers to match under a scotching sun before their oppressors.
Interestingly, despite all the enormous hardship the Oyo workers are currently going through, 22 copies of Socialist Democracy (SD) and 22 copies of revised edition of DSM pamphlet on crisis in the oil sector were sold. The May Day also provided an opportunity to give May Day public symposium being organised by Joint Action Front JAF on May 2 a wider publicity.
This symposium which was attended by over 80 participants has as part of its resolutions the need to stage a mass action in Ibadan comes May 29th, 2016 against various onslaught like lingering fuel scarcity/hike in pump price, non-payment of salaries and pension arrears and epileptic supply of electricity/45% hike in tariff. To us in DSM, we hope to use the mass action to further mobilize for a public symposium which is planned hold on the 30th of May, 2016 under the banner of Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN.
During the JAF public symposium which held at the Secretariat of the Oyo State Chapter of NLC, additional 8 copies of Socialist Democracy and 5 copies of DSM publication were sold. Therefore makes the total number of publication sold during the May Day activities 57 copies, 30 copies of Socialist Democracy and 27 copies of DSM pamphlets.
By Emmanuel Adikwe
At about 10:30 am, thousands of Ogun state workers and Union officials, who had hitherto been moving to and fro, were seen rushing into the MKO Abiola International Stadium, venue of the 2016 May Day Rally in Ogun state. The reason is not unconnected to the workers ‘getting wind’ of the governor’s arrival, as six minutes later, the governor arrived with his convoy heralding the start of the event. The national anthem was rendered, solidarity songs were recited, and prayers made for the event to be successful.
At about 11:00 am, the Ogun state NLC chairman, Ambali was called upon to give his May Day speech. The first part of his speech was a recitation of the speech prepared for the NLC National President which highlighted the myriad of socio-economic problems facing the Nigerian state and the need to find lasting solutions to the crises that abound. The second part of his speech highlighted the problems facing the Ogun state workers such as: salaries not paid in full; backlog of pension arrears; non remittance of contributory pension fund and the need for its discontinuance; demand for stoppage of multiple exams for promotional purposes; issues bordering on Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE) etc. The Ogun state TUC President also made similar demands, though more strongly worded, after reading out the speech of its national president
The governor while making his speech, tactically refrained from addressing the burning issues raised by the labour leaders. He however made reference to TASUED and TASCE, stating that both institutions are over funded and over staffed, and are draining the meager funds that accrue to the state government from the Federal Government. He said that he’s still contemplating what to do with both institutions; to merger them and reduce the monthly allocations, as well as the workforce. But that he will take a decision very soon.
While the governor was making his offline speech, some aggrieved workers intermittently disrupted him with shouts of “boo!”, and other cuss words to which he tried to respond unsuccessfully. At the end of his speech, the governor remained at the podium, while workers, standing behind their Union banners, braved the scorching heat of the midday sun to do the usual ‘marching parade’ in their union attire, for the governor’s enjoyment.
We intervened at the May Day rally with SPN leaflets, Socialist Democracy, DSM Perspective Document, DSM pamphlet on Perennial Fuel Shortage, and SPN Constitution. 16 copies of SD were sold (2 copies at solidarity price of N200 each), a copy of the DSM Perspective Document was also sold. Total sales of materials at the rally: N2,400.