OGUN NLC AND TUC SHOULD DECLARE A-24HR WARNING STRIKE IN SUPPORT OF THE WORKERS’ DEMANDS
The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR), Ogun state chapter, calls on the Dipo Abiodun-led APC government to immediately drop all trumped up charges against the five arrested workers of the Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE), Omu, and accede to the legitimate demands of the workers unconditionally. The workers of the college are currently protesting against the nonpayment of over sixty (60) months unpaid salary arrears, non-remission of contributory pension scheme deductions, poor working and learning conditions among other demands.
We equally call on the state chapter of NLC and TUC, as a matter of urgency, to declare a-24 warning strike in support of the TASCE struggles and for the implementation of the thirty thousand naira (N30,000:00) minimum wage increment by the federal government without further ado.
It would be recalled that some months after the inauguration of the Dipo Abiodun-led administration, the governor had set up an investigative panel of enquiry on TASCE headed by Prof. Kamarudeem Balogun, to make recommendations for the government. This notwithstanding the fact that, before his inauguration, the governor-elect as he then was, had received recommendations from the education committee he had set up to investigates some crisis ridden state owned tertiary institutions with a particular reference to TASCE.
All these came to naught, as the government could only rely on the panel report to proscribe Coalition of TASCE Staffs (COTASS), the platform the workers are using to champion their struggles, due to the banning of trade unions activities in the college by the previous administration, without lifting the ban on trade unions activities in the college.
The Dipo Abiodun –led APC administration, like the previous ones, is a typically chronic anti-poor, capitalist government, like its counterparts across the country, committed to neo liberal programmes, regardless of party affiliations. It’s a government that serves the interests of the few rich at the expense of the needs of the working poor of Ogun state. The government is currently embarking on and implementing pro-rich policies of underfunding of education, privatization of public utilities, Public Private Partnership, the contract system against public works and refusing to implement the N30, 000:00 new minimum wage increment. This why workers and the masses must always link their struggles to the need for a working peoples’ political alternative on a socialist programme which includes centrally planning the economy to meet the needs of the poor and working majority, against profit for a few.
It’s in a desperate bid to force these anti- workers and poor policies down the throats of the mass majority of the working poor of Ogun state against their wishes; gag the voice of dissents; and the fear of the impending inevitable struggles that would break out against these programs by the workers’ movement, that the fun-loving, weak, inept, corrupt and rudderless government of Dipo Abiodun is currently resorting to witch-hunting, intimidations and victimizations using state apparatus. It’s against this background that the present travails of the arrested TASCE five and the workers can be situated!
The arrested workers: Com. Dan Aborisade, Mrs Tobi Emba, Mr Seyi Akinola, Mrs Labake Bakare and Mr Bashir Odunsi, who have now temporarily regained their freedom after they were arraigned on trumped up charges bordering on robbery, kidnapping, assaults and public disturbances, at the Isabo magistrate court on the 11th September, 2019. They were subsequently granted bail on stringent conditionalities, and later remanded at the Ibara prison in Abeokuta till their bail conditions were eventually perfected on 13th September, 2019!
The workers were arrested on the orders of the state governor on 8th and 9th September, 2019. They were picked up in a commando styles in their various residences at night in Ijebu Ode town, by the members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SAS) of the Nigeria Police force. While com. Dan Aborisade was picked up at the office of one Mr Lamide Lawal, (a member of the governor’s education committee) who deceived him to having a meeting with the committee members at the governor’s office!
We condemn the government highhandedness in absolute terms, and for its crass callousness to the plights of the workers. We demand immediate halt to all forms of further witch hunting, arrest, intimidations and victimizations of workers and labor activists. We equally call on NLC, TUC, and civil society organizations to rein and prevail on the government of Dipo Abiodun to drop all the trumped up charges against the workers and accede to their legitimate demands, for normal academic activities to return to the college.
• Drop all trumped up charges against the TASCE five, and stop all forms of further witch hunting, arrest, intimidations and victimizations of workers and labor activists.
• Payment of over sixty (60) months of salary arrears, remission of pension fund deductions and cooperatives, and setting modalities in place on how other burning issues can be resolved without further delay.
• Democratic management of the college involving elected representatives’ of trade unions, students and other stake holders within the college community to ensure judicious and accountable use of the resources. This will help checkmate individuals within the management of the college from corruptly enriching themselves with the scarce sources of the institution.
• The police and other security operatives should steer clear and vacate the occupation of the college, and stop the harassment of workers, labor activists, and students opposed to the deleterious state of the college as a result the present industrial disputes.
• Reinstate all trade unions and associations that were proscribed by the government and the dismissed union leaders.
• No to retrenchment and victimization of workers for their determined and principle roles in the struggles.
• Government must prioritize education as a social service to the society and fund it adequately, not resorting to internally generated revenues to run the college as a profit oriented establishment.
• We call on NLC, TUC and other labor and civil society groups to organize series of mass actions including a-24hrs warning strike in support of TASCE workers and to compel the government to begin the implement of the N30, 000: new minimum wage increment.
Eko John Nicholas
Coordinator CDWR Ogun State