FINANCIAL APPEAL FOR A CAMPAIGN ON MINIMUM WAGE, CASUALISATION AND AGAINST STATE HARRASMENT OF ABBEY TROTSKY
The Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) –a campaign platform formed by the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) to intervene in workers struggle – would like to request your donation to the financial appeal meant for a campaign we have initiated to argue and fight for the full implementation of the minimum wage at all levels and an end to casualization and exploitative contract staffing. We are also campaigning for an end to the state harassment of Abiodun Bamigboye (Abbey Trotsky), acting National Chair Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and Oyo State Coordinator of the CDWR, by the state (police and DSS) in connivance with the management of Sumal Foods, Ibadan.
We have been reaching out to workers and working people in general at workplaces and communities with a view of mobilizing them to mount pressure on the trade unions leaders to lead a serious fight on minimum wage and casualization; and also where necessary and possible to organize independent activities themselves on the issues. For this purpose, we circulated thousands of leaflets in Lagos, Osun, Oyo and Abuja in the weeks leading to the agreement on the minimum wage reached between the Federal government and the labour. In each of the workplaces we visited, workers received our leaflets with enthusiasm and supported our call for a 48 hour general strike and mass protest to break the stalemate in the minimum wage negotiation. Indeed on World Teachers Day, Comrade Dagga Tolar, the Acting General Secretary of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) who also doubles as the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Ajeromi Ifelodun (AJIF) LGA in Lagos, successfully campaigned for his union branch to vote for a general strike and mass protest to commence on October 17, 2019. All these show the anger at the base of the union which our campaign has been trying to provide organized expression for.
At the moment the labour leadership has succeeded in winning a formal agreement with the Federal government on implementation of the new wage without firing a shot. But from experience, especially of the last minimum wage of N18,000, without a sustained pressure from workers themselves with the support of pro-working people organizations on labour leadership to initiate serious struggles, the government and private employers will not only refuse to fully implement the current minimum wage of N30,000 but will also owe a backlog of salaries. Also many workers will be retrenched under the guise of sorting out “ghost workers”. This will especially be the case with State governors and it is why we need all the resources we can get to intensify the campaign in the workplaces.
Casualisation, through which workers are paid slave wages, subjected to extremely poor conditions and denied right to a trade union, has become the mainstay of workforces in many private companies. These casual workers are made not to benefit from minimum wage. Indeed, casualization is one of the ways devised by companies to deny workers right to minimum wage and collective bargaining agreement. Sadly, trade union leaders in most cases collaborate with private companies to entrench these slave conditions. Unfortunately, no trade union centres (NLC, TUC and ULC) have any serious campaign against casualization.
State Harassment of Abbey
It could be noted that it was struggle against casualization at Sumal Foods that led to the current harassment of Abiodun Bamigboye (Abbey Trotsky by the police and Department of State Service (DSS) in connivance with the management of the company. In October 2018, together with the CDWR, he helped provide leadership to casual workers who were on strike to fight for improvement in pay and conditions. The workers, who are not allowed to join a trade union, through the struggle forced the management to grant some concessions. Abbey is currently facing charges at the Magistrate Court Iyakangu Ibadan at the instance of the police while he has also been charged to industrial court Ibadan by the management of Sumal, all for his roles in the struggle of workers. The arraignment in court came after he had been arrested and detained many times by the Police and DSS. Besides, many workers have been sacked by the company following the struggle. The harassment of Abbey as well as sack of workers is to serve as deterrent to any agitation against the continued slave camp condition of casual workers in the company.
So part of the activities of the campaign is the demand for dropping of trumped-up charges and end to police harassment of Abbey. This will entail mobilization of activists and workers for solidarity presence at all court hearing and peaceful solidarity protests thereafter. The next adjourned date for the matter at Magistrate Court is October 24, 2019. He has been in court twice previously. The two other cases at Industrial Court were separately filed by Sumal and the outsourcing companies, which supply it casual workers, respectively. One of the cases comes up October 22, 2019. They are both meant to obtain an order to restrain Abbey and the Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights from ever intervening in the plight of casual workers of Sumal.
By and large, the activities of the campaigns, which we have started, include visit to factories, schools, civil servant offices with our leaflet and petition as well as solidarity actions in support of Abbey and Sumal workers. We also plan to organize a series of public meetings independently and also in collaboration with workers’ groups and pro-labour organizations. All these activities have been taking place, in the first instance, in Lagos, Abuja, Oyo, Ogun and Osun states. So far about 10, 000 copies of leaflets have been produced and circulated. As the campaign build up and win contacts and collaborators the campaign will be taken to other states.
Materials needed for the first phase of the campaign include 100,000 copies of leaflet; 100 flex placards, 10 banners and 1,000 copies of Special Edition of the Socialist Democracy, the paper of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM).
For the activities, materials and logistics, the campaign is estimated to cost about N500, 000. We call on workers, trade unions, pro-masses’ organisations, trade union activists, civil society activists, socialists, etc. to support this campaign with a donation both financially and materially.
Kindly make your donation to:
Fortress Books Nigeria
National Chair, CDWR