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Trade Unions



Socialist Democracy April - May 2003 | Index





Comrade Rufus Olusesan, the trade union activist and socialist who was recently reinstated back to his job by the management of Kabelmetal PLC has been elected the substantive chairman of the local branch of the Steel and Engineering Workers' Union (SEWUN).

About 250 workers took part in the election which took place on Thursday, March 13, 2003 to chose a new leadership for the branch. The workers had in January, 2003 dissolved the former union executive for their pro-management stance and particularly for deducting a levy of N1,000 from their salaries without any prior consultation or approval by the workers. A struggle waged by the workers against this imposition led the management to unjustly sacked Rufus who was accused of leading the workers' opposition to the levy. Despite that his appointment had allegedly been terminated by the company, the workers elected him to head the steering committee which they set up after the dissolution of the pro-management executive.

A strike action by the workers and a local and international campaign which was organised by SEWUN, Campaign for Independent Unionism (CIU), DSM, NCP and NANS, compelled the management to rescind their decision, by calling Rufus back to work.

Out of the positions on the executive, only the chairmanship position was contested for while candidates for other positions were turned unopposed. They are Moses Ipokpo (vice-chairman), Gbenga Balogun (secretary), Richard Akinwunmi (treasurer), and Stephen Komolafe (financial secretary). Four workers, Abiola Elugbaju, Sakiru Adebambo, Babatunde Osota and Joseph Badejo, were elected ex-officio members of the executive.

The new executive would need to live up to the expectations of their members by fighting for drastic improvement in the working conditions. To achieve this, the union must be run democratically and meetings of the rank and file members should be held regularly to allow members discuss and take decisions on issues affecting them. Only in this way will the union remain strong and be able to withstanding any attempt by the management to undermine it or victimise workers or activists in the company.




Socialist Democracy April - May 2003 | Index