CDWR CONDEMNS THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION FOR OBTAINING COURT ORDER AGAINST WORKERS’ PLANNED STRIKE OVER LEGITIMATE WELFARE ISSUES
NHRC SHOULD MEET WORKERS’ DEMANDS WITHOUT DELAY
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) led by Anthony O. Ojukwu, the Executive Secretary, has procured an ex parte order from the National Industrial Court (NIC) stopping its workers and the Nigeria Civil Service Union from embarking on a strike action scheduled to begin on July 16, 2020. The planned strike action and agitation is to press home workers’ demands for the payment of arrears from the new National Minimum Wage passed into law in April 2019 and investigation allowances.
The NHRC was established in 1995 and one of its mandates is to protect the rights of workers and other Nigerians when or about to be violated. It is clear from the conduct of NHRC that it is incapable of protecting the rights of Nigerians when violated because it is as well violating the rights of its workers to freely assemble, speak and organise in a peaceful way. The right to a strike is an important conquest of the labour movement and the NHRC ought to be seen defending this right, not violating it. The action of the NHRC illustrates that the capitalist state and its agencies, including law enforcement institutions, are primarily established to sustain the hegemony and brutal exploitation of the working people, and bourgeois democracy and rule of law is at best a façade. Only a government of workers and the poor can protect and guarantee the rights of the working masses.
The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) condemns this reprehensible response of the NHRC to workers’ legitimate demands. It amounts to using the judiciary to arm-twist workers. We would have expected the NHRC to have entered into sincere negotiation/discussion with the workers and their union representatives aimed at resolving the matter.
It is a known fact that the cost of living has skyrocketed in the last four months and largely wiped out the little gains from the N30, 000 minimum wage increment let alone the impact of the arrears in its implementation. Hence, the agitations for payment of arrears and investigation allowances are justified and legitimate.
We call on the Anthony Ojukwu-led National Human Rights Commission to meet the demands of the workers without further delay. The CDWR pledge our solidarity with the agitation of the striking workers. We call on the Civil Service Union and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to continue the struggle for better working conditions undeterred in order to achieve the demands.
Comrade Rufus Olusesan
Comrade Chinedu Bosah