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Socialist Democracy July - August 2003 Index


By Ojo Olajire

The long awaited delegates conference of Steel and Engineering Workers' Union, SEWUN, took place on June 5th, 2003 at the African Leadership Forum (ALF) Plaza, Otta, Ogun State. In attendance were 349 accredited delegates and representatives from the ministry of labour and productivity, labour unions, etc. The conference is significant in the history of the union because it was the first of its kind after the crisis that had rocked the union for some years. One of the main purposes of the conference was to elect national officers that will lead the union for the next four years.

It would be recalled that the four sectoral unions (iron and steel, metal products, automobile and electronics) were merged to form SEWUN during the Abacha dictatorship. But in September 1998, the metal products sector pulled out of the union alleging marginalisation, mismanagement and embezzlement of union funds.

Out of seven positions, four positions were contested while candidates for three positions were returned un-opposed. The newly elected officers are Monday Aguele (president), Vincent Akpata, Umaru Ogbuade and E.A. Adesanya (deputy presidents), A.B. Kirika, M.J. Salami, Jonah Gani and Taofeek Adegbaike (vice presidents), A.C. Mbachu (treasurer), Sabinus Onuoha and Samuel Isaiah (trustees), Sunday Enang and Monday Sule (auditors).

The holding of this "unity" delegates' conference, which reunited the various components is a step forward for the unions and its members. It enhances the capacity of the union to defend the working conditions and rights of workers. But this potential can only be realised if the newly-elected union leadership makes fighting for the interests of members, their primary and sole concern. The problems of casual labour and dangerous working conditions which are prevalent in industries under the union, especially the metal products sector, will have to be seriously tackled. The plan of the sacking of workers and union leaders at CMB factory in Ikeja are other issues that have to be addressed. Only by taking up these and other matters affecting workers in an uncompromising principled and working class approach manner will the reunification make any meaning to SEWUN rank-and-file members.




Socialist Democracy July - August 2003 Index