Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM




Kola Ibrahim

All the copies (about a thousand) of the new edition of Osun State Socialist Democracy (SD) produced were sold out at the Congress of the Osun state workers on minimum wage in Osogbo held on Wednesday August 17, 2011. Indeed, some workers made photocopies of the paper out of enthusiasm to have copies.

Up to 5, 000 workers attended the congress, which was the fifth since the strike has started, while more than half of them waited from 8.00 a.m. till around 1.30 p.m. when the union leaders arrived after a marathon meeting with the state government. On the basis of government’s refusal to shift ground, workers overwhelmingly at the congress voted to continue the strike till further notice.

The labour leaders said they had proposed two options to the government on the resolution of the crisis. First, the government should agree to pay N18, 000 across the board and commit itself to a definite time it will start the implementation including the arrears. The second option is for government to start implementing the relativity pay, which they claimed will mean N17, 000 for the least paid worker and around N350, 000 for the highest paid director, while discussion on full implementation of the minimum wage will continue in September. The governor is reportedly away in Saudi Arabia. Hence, there was no commitment from the negotiation team government to either of the options.

The DSM comrades have been active in the struggle of Osun state workers for the implementation of the new minimum wage much before the current strike began on August 8, 2011. We indeed held a public meeting on the subject in the state on August 6 at the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) secretariat which was attended by about 40 people. We have also produced and circulated thousands of leaflets and posters to help mobilize mass support of workers and the public for the strike while also raising the demands of actions against various neo-liberal capitalist attacks and arguing for a working people and socialist alternative. Two DSM comrades also addressed the workers at the first congress on Monday August 8. Among other things, in their solidarity speeches, comrades called for popular mass actions like protests, rallies, pickets, etc, the formation of strike committees from the local levels to the state, total implementation without a single retrenchment and the need for a genuine workers’ party; which were well received.