Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

CRIN AGAIN: Management Seals up Accommodation of Sacked Workers While Working Condition Continues t

CRIN AGAIN: Management Seals up Accommodation of Sacked Workers While Working Condition Continues to Be under Attacks

  • More solidarity actions of Trade Unions; civil society organizations, Media Practitioners and the general public are urgently needed now than ever!
By Abbey Trotsky

Barely six months after the arbitrarily sack of 95 workers of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) by the Prof. Malacky Akoroda led management, the recent situation in the institute is that the same management has just gone ahead in the early hours of Monday 2nd June, 2014 to seal up the apartments of some of the sacked workers within the staff quarter of the institute.

By this single action, over fifty families whose bread winners were rendered jobless few months ago by the management of the institute have now been rendered homeless. The degree of emotional and mental trauma these families are going through at present is unquantifiable. For instance, many school aged members of the affected families will definitely have their academic pursuit affected such that if nothing is done very fast many may be thrown out of school. As for the parents, it would be stories of pains and pangs especially when their abodes are sealed without having access to their belongings.

It is not surprising that Prof. Akoroda is once again using this kind of brute force and coercive measure against the sacked workers. Recent experience has shown that such is the usual dubious style of Prof. Akoroda to destabilize and weaken the workers’ zeal and aspiration to fight on especially when it is obvious that is increasingly threatened and overwhelmed by the growing and fighting power of workers.

In the first instance, it was in line with this kind of dubious calculation to weaken the collective strength of CRIN workers and intimidate them from resuming the industrial dispute which was suspended on the October 2014, that Prof. Akoroda-led management carefully indentified and sacked the 95 individuals who played leading and heroic roles in the said industrial dispute. Prof. Malachy Akorada was accused of high handedness, denial of workers promotion, diversion of research materials for his personal use etc.

Commendably, despite the mass sack of the 95 workers, both the sacked and non-sacked workers in the institute have remained resolute and determined to continue fight against all forms of attacks on living and working condition. For instance, since January 2014 till now, Committee of the sacked workers in collaboration with members of Oyo State Chapter of Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) has been organizing different forms of mass actions and online campaigns against the arbitrary termination of the appointment of the workers by Prof Akoroda-led CRIN management.

This campaign was officially launched on the 27th February 2014; when a protest to all media houses within the city of Ibadan, the state headquarter of Oyo State was organized. This event which massively reported in both the print and electronic media for the first time bring to the notice of the general public the level of deepening impunity that has been taking place in the CRIN since the inception of Prof. Akoroda’s tenure as the Director of the institute.

The second event which also gave the mass sack in CRIN a wider publicity among the general public was the press conference / public symposium organized by CDWR on the 28th April, 2014 at the secretariat of the Oyo state Chapter of Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ). This programmes which was able to draw together an array of labour unionists and activists in the state no doubt had a tremendous effect on the campaign for the unconditional reinstatement of the sacked 95 CRIN workers.

Interestingly, through this event, unions like Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU); Trade Union Congress (TUC); Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) which were duly represented were able to express their support and willingness to always lend support to subsequent activities gear towards the campaign for the unconditional reinstatement of the sacked workers.

Another significant action which was also organized to further the campaign for unconditional reinstatement of sacked workers was a street protest which was organized within the city of Ibadan on the 1st May 2014. Thousands of leaflets were circulated during this protest while different placards with various demands of workers were also publicly displayed.

As commendable as all these independent actions of sacked workers are, the experience has shown that without an organized resistance from the trade unions like NASU, the union most of the sacked workers belong, Prof. Akoroda will remain emboldened and draconian. A glimpse of this is all forms of attacks workers in the institute are presently going through!

Right now, CRIN has been turned to a banana republic where freedom of association and discussion is now threatened. The current situation in CRIN now is that workers are discriminately given query for not greeting the Director! Civil Defense officers’ permanently stationed in the institute slap and beat workers indiscriminately. Salary is not regularly paid!

The height of this is that Prof. Akoroda is also planning to sack another set of workers. This is obvious from the meeting he held with senior staff of the institute on the Thursday 24th, April 2014, where he threatened that any worker who failed to take home or save at least 2/3 of his/her monthly salary will henceforth stands the risk being sacked.

This threat which he tried to justify by citing in abstract certain provision of the PSR is an undue interference in the private life of workers of the institute. The question is when does workers decision on how their emoluments are spent become part of the administrative responsibility of the Director of the institute? This is a pointer that more mindless attacks on workers conditions and democratic rights are eminent in the institute.

Therefore, to reverse all forms of anti-workers policies presently holding sway in the institute and avert the plan to unleash more in the coming period there is urgent needs for NLC, TUC, national leadership of all the existing unions in the institute and pro-labour organizations to kick start the process of organizing solidarity actions to demand the unconditional reinstatement of sacked workers and an end to draconian activities of the management. .

It is commendable that the national secretariat of NASU is presently challenging the arbitrary and unlawful sack of the 95 CRIN workers at the Federal industrial Court based in Ibadan. However, it must be noted that this must not be used as an excuse to play down its political agitation for unconditional reinstatement of sacked workers as well as immediate reversal of all other forms of anti-workers policies currently in operation in the institute.

This is because, an absence of continuous and sustained political agitation side by side the current legal struggle could provide Prof. Akorode enough time to maneuver and continue the attacks on workers until his tenure expires. In the main time, NASU should also approach the court while seeking for injunction to stop Prof. Akoroda-led management from evicting the sacked workers from their apartments.

Also, you can join the protest against this unjust and inhuman treatment of workers in CRIN, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria by writing, calling or sending text messages to the following:

Director of Human Resources Ministry of Agric. Tel: 08033043912. E-mail: [email protected] Executive Director, CRIN. Tel: 08078669996; 08035829286.

E-mail: [email protected] ; [email protected] Oyo State Director of SSS. Tel: 08035787042 Please copy all the protest letters to [email protected].