SPN Supports Planned NLC Strike and Protest over Cash Crunch
NLC and TUC Should Consistently Mobilise Mass Resistance against Economic Hardship and Anti-Poor Policies
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) supports the plan of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to go on strike and picket branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationwide as from Wednesday March 29, 2023. We indeed hold that such an action is long overdue given the excruciating suffering ordinary Nigerians have been criminally subjected to by Buhari government and CBN with its crazy policy of Naira redesign and demonitisation.
We understand that the CBN has been making frantic effort to avert the action having held meeting with the NLC leadership and promised the immediate disbursement of old naira note to banks. We urge the NLC not to automatically take the CBN by their words as they have so far proved to be uncaring and unfeeling about devastating impacts of the cash crunch on lives and livelihood of ordinary people. The apex bank may not pump adequate naira notes into circulation.
Rather, the NLC strike should go ahead with the strike and mass protest even if it is just for 24 hours as a first step. We hold that this is necessary in order to make a bold statement about the resolve of the NLC to lead the working people to force the anti-poor government of Buhari to reverse this callous policy and other anti-poor policies.
Besides, it is also important to use the strike to press home demands on the other issues raised by the NLC in its Central Working Committee’s communique such as “surreptitious increase in electricity tariff without notice and without improvement in quality of service” as well as “the nonchalance of NNPC and government” to “the fuel supply situation and the attendant arbitrary costs at filling stations”.
The strike should also be used as a strong warning to all the states, not only Abia and Imo states, which the NLC rightly says are culprits of “non-payment of salaries/allowances and pensions for several months, non-remittance of check-off dues and other anti-union activities.”
By and large, the fact that the fear of strike and mass action has forced the CBN to hurriedly promise to release to banks some of the naira notes earlier confiscated should be a lesson to the NLC leadership. It shows the power of a mass working class organization and the need for NLC leadership to consistently use such a power to defend the interests of workers and ordinary people. Therefore, we call on the leadership of the NLC, as well as the TUC, to begin mobilization for mass resistance against the current economic hardship and anti-poor policies such as fuel price hike and naira devaluation that may be carried out by Buhari government or the incoming Tinubu administration.
We also hold that it is apposite to note the fact that the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, who was officially endorsed by the NLC, openly supported the same naira confiscation policy which the NLC is currently fighting against. This is in addition to his resolve to remove fuel subsidy if elected contrary to the position of the NLC. This shows that despite claims to the contrary, Peter Obi does not fully embrace the even the limited Workers’ Charter of Demands which was the basis for the erstwhile Ayuba Wabba NLC leadership declaration and mobilisation of workers in support of his presidential candidacy.
For us in the SPN, we believe it is incongruous and contradictory for the NLC to be organising strikes and protest against anti-poor policies while the Labour Party’s presidential candidate supports the same policies. A genuine presidential candidate of a real workers’ party must not only be opposed to anti poor and anti-worker policies, he or she will serve as a tribune to ventilate issues that affect the working people and would be prepared to join the labour movement in struggle against such policies militating against the wellbeing of the poor masses. To correct this disharmony in the programmes of the LP/its candidates and the labour movement, we urge the NLC and TUC to convene a working class and youth summit in the aftermath of the 2023 general elections in order to review the elections, take stock and draw up a common programme of action to unite the party and the labour movement in struggle to liberate the working people.
In addition, we call on the NLC and the labour movement in general to begin to reposition the LP such that candidates who promote capitalist neo-liberal agenda and other anti-poor policies cannot use the party to seek political office. This should be part of efforts which are needed towards rebuilding the LP as a genuine mass working people party which is run democratically and with a socialist program.
Acting National Chairperson