WORKERS’ STRIKE AT IBADAN POLYTECHNIC EXPOSES THE DECEIT OF SEYI MAKINDE-LED/PDP GOVERNMENT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF N30, 000 MINIMUM WAGE IN THE STATE
**SPN calls Oyo state leadership of NLC and TUC to lend support to the strike in order to compel the PDP-led State government to accede to the demands of the striking workers
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Oyo State Chapter, expresses its support for the ongoing indefinite strike declared on Monday, 11th January, 2021 by workers (academic and non-academic staffs) of The Polytechnic, Ibadan. According to media reports, the strike is in connection with the continued failure of the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government to commence the implementation of the new minimum wage of N30, 000 for workers in the institution, more than a year after it was signed into law by the Buhari-led federal government. Another issue involved in the strike is the overreaching and unlawful activities of the consultant imposed on the institution by the state government.
The SPN supports the demands of the striking workers which include the immediate commencement of the implementation of the new minimum wage of N30, 000 for the mass of the workers in the institution and proscription of the activities of the consultant which is a negation of the edict the set up the institution. We call on the government of Engr. Seyi Makinde to immediately accede to these legitimate demands of workers’ in the institution in order to enable smooth academic activities
The SPN also rejects the condemnation of the strike by the state Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, Olasunkanmi Olaleye and his false claim that the strike “is not justifiable”. We consider as weak the commissioner’s argument that workers in The Polytechnic Ibadan alone cannot differ with other tertiary institutions in the state over the template the state government is considering to adopt for the implementation of the new minimum wage for the tertiary institutions in the state.
The SPN holds that the continuous failure of the Oyo State government to implement the new minimum wage after over a year it was signed into law is enough justification for the strike embarked upon by the polytechnic workers. This is contrary to the falsehood being peddled in the media that it has fully commenced the implementation of the new minimum wage for all categories of civil servants in the state. More so, the statement credited to the Commissioner clearly shows that the state government is still at a stage of contemplation over when it hopes to sign a concrete agreement as to the template to be adopted for the implementation of the new minimum wage for workers in all the tertiary institutions in the state
Furthermore, the claim of the commissioner that “only the polytechnic Ibadan disagreed with the template the state government is considering to adopt for the implementation of the new minimum wage “is an attempt to blackmail the workers in The Polytechnic Ibadan, as the black sheep among others. This can be a basis to launch repression on the workers. Already, the information at our disposal is that officers of Operation Burst – a joint military and police outfit – have been deployed to both the North and South campuses of the polytechnic, in the early hour of Tuesday, 12th January 2021 by the Oyo State Government to intimidate and possibly repress the ongoing strike.
The SPN decries this repressive response from the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government that often claim to be a people-friendly government. We, therefore, demand an immediate withdrawal of the men of Operation Burst so as to avert unnecessary complication and escalation of the issue. The mass of workers in The Polytechnic Ibadan have the right to reject any template for the implementation of the new minimum wage, which they consider to be antithetical to their interests and to the spirit of the enacted minimum wage. Obviously, the so-called template being peddled by the state government is not unlikely to be a ploy to rip workers off, under the guise of implementing the new minimum wage. As a matter of fact, the declaration of the ongoing strike obviously suggests that workers at The Polytechnic Ibadan might have noticed that the template itself is deceit, hence the basis for their rejection!
Given this background, SPN calls on the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government to stop all its gimmick to decimate workers’ resolve but accede to all of their demands without further delay. At the same time, SPN urges the striking workers to remain resolute and undaunted.
We urge the leadership of the two labour centres in the State; Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) as well as individual trade unions to lend support to the demands of striking Polytechnic workers with a view of prevailing on Engr Seyi Makinde-led government to accede to them
Beyond this is to note that, the ongoing strike of the polytechnic Ibadan workers has no doubt further showed that the claim of the implementation of the new minimum wage by Engr Seyi Makinde-led government for all categories of civil servants in the State is not only sectional but also deceptive. This has again underscored the SPN the standpoint that most of the so-called achievements of Engr Seyi Makinde-led government are largely mere grandstanding and propaganda!
It is in light of this the SPN reiterates its call on mass of the workers, youths and the poor in the state to stop investing undue hope and illusion in the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government. It is a pro-capitalist government like every one of its predecessors in the state as it is already exposing its anti-poor character.
It is only a government formed by workers and the poor on the basis of a socialist programme that can guarantee decent living and working conditions of workers without compromising the interest of other categories of the working people and youth who are not necessarily salary earners in the state.
By socialism, we mean public ownership of the resources of the society under the democratic control and management of the working people and use of the resources for the needs of all, not the greed of a few. We therefore, call on workers, youth and the poor in the state to join us to build SPN towards the enthronement of a socialist government in the state as a step towards a socialist Nigeria and the world at large.
Comrade Ayodeji Adigun
SPN State Secretary