SPN SUPPORTS NLC’S JUNE 22 PLEDGE TO MOBILISE FOR A NATIONWIDE STRIKE OVER WORKERS SACK IN KADUNA STATE
SERIOUS MOBILIZATION OF WORKERS AND DEEPENING OF THE STRUGGLE IS THE ONLY WAY TO RESIST THESE ATTACKS
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) supports the resolution of the National Executive Committee of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to return to mass struggle in response to the sustained attacks on workers in Kaduna. We believe that this is the only way in which the attacks on the Kaduna workers can be defeated.
We strongly feel that the premise for the suspension of the 5-day warning strike and protest in Kaduna was faulty and weak. The call for the reactivation of Section 20 of the Labour Act by the leadership of the NLC was needless, if it recognizes that the sack of thousands of workers in Kaduna by APC Governor El Rufai was part of anti-people, anti-workers, neo-liberal restructuring policies.
The only reasonable response of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) would have been to resist the mass sack through mass struggle and insist on a reversal. The weakness in resorting to Redundancy (Section 20 of Labour Act) as a soft landing for El- Rufai has emboldened the government to consolidate the attacks. It is not the provisions of the bourgeois law that determines struggle, it is the balance of forces, alongside the existence of a fighting programme and strategy on the part of the labour movement that ultimately determines whether workers’ struggle will be victorious or not.
Politically, redundancy should not apply in Kaduna state because public resources that ought to have been used to expand production and services and equally employ more workers have been mismanaged through neo-liberal and anti-people policies. Those that need to lose their jobs are El-Rufai and his collaborators in government. The battle will end up being a big blow on the mass of the workers not only in Kaduna but across the country, if the NLC and TUC continue to conduct such an important struggle on redundancy rules. This is because the federal government and other state including local governments will be emboldened to sack workers en masse and activate redundancy clause to justify or legalize it.
We have always warned the NLC and TUC leaders that struggle are best won on the battlefield through mass mobilization and action. In our opinion, the reliance on board room negotiation usually adopted by labour leaders as a means of prosecuting struggle is counter-productive. In spite of a MoU, Governor El-Rufai has not only gone ahead to violate it, but he also has continued to consolidate the attacks and threatened workers and labour leaders.
As long as the NLC and TUC leaderships continue to run away from mass struggle because they do not want to confront the bourgeois state and private business owners head-on, the more Nigerian workers and the poor will be sacrificed on the altar of neo-liberalism and anti-people policies.
The SPN endorses the resolution of the leadership of NLC and TUC to commence mobilisation for a nationwide action against the mass sack in Kaduna. However we hold that such a nationwide action which must include warning general strike must be used to demand an end to the rising state of insecurity, mass casualization, non-implementation of N30,000 minimum wage, the rising cost of living ravaging the country at this present time.
In preparation for this, we call on rank and file workers and activists to immediately begin to build democratic action/strike committees at workplaces and communities constituted by the most energetic, sacrificing and committed workers activists. This is essential to ensure that the direction of the struggle is controlled by the rank and file workers and that a new strike action is not abruptly ended like the last one by the labour bureaucrats before it has achieved victory. If they are serious about opening a way out of the country’s numerous crises then the NLC and TUC should also mobilize workers and the poor around an alternative socialist economic and political agenda as a way of defeating the neo-liberal, anti-people capitalist agenda.
Nigerian workers have come under the pressure of the economic hardship, rising cost of living and mass unemployment and sacking workers is counterproductive economically. What Nasir El-Rufai is doing in Kaduna shows clearly that there is no difference between All Progressive Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other bourgeois ruling political parties.
There is a dire and urgent need for labour leaders, workers and the poor to build our own mass pan-Nigerian working peoples political party and use it as the vehicle of mass struggle to take political power at all levels from the self-serving bourgeois ruling parties and ruling elite and enthrone a workers and poor people’s government based on public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy under democratic workers control and management.
Abiodun Bamigboye Chinedu Bosah
Acting National Chairperson National Secretary