Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

CRIN IBADAN: 95 Sacked Workers Reinstated After Three Years of Struggle

CRIN IBADAN: 95 Sacked Workers Reinstated After Three Years of Struggle

Lessons and the Relevance to the Labour Movement

By Abbey Trotsky

The 95 workers of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, CRIN, Ibadan, who were arbitrarily sacked in one fell swoop by the former Prof. Akoroda-led administration, on the 24th of January, 2013, for participating in an industrial action declared by the national leadership of the three trade unions in the institute were reinstated on the 1st September, 2016 and their appointments were subsequently confirmed.

It will be recalled that Dr (Mrs) Abiodun Okelana, being the most senior staff of the institute, was appointed as the acting Executive Director of CRIN by the Federal Government of Nigeria on December 17, 2015. This was after Prof. Malacky Akoroda was disgracefully removed following the strike actions, protests and agitations of workers of the institute and members of the host community that paralysed and grounded the entire activities of the institute for a solid six weeks.

Dr.. (Mrs.) Okelana-led administration set up a committee comprising leaders of the struggle and some members of the management to work out a modality as to how to resolve all pending issues with a specific reference to reinstatement of both the sacked workers and the proscribed union activities. It is the recommendations of the committee that led to the out of court settlement agreed upon between the new management of Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, CRIN, Ibadan, and the national leadership of Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), which was later consented to by National Industrial Court Ibadan when it was presented on the 28th January, 2016.

It must also be recalled that the national leadership of Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), whose members constitute the sacked workers had been challenging the CRIN management at the National Industrial Court since 2014 over the arbitrary sack of the workers. Unfortunately given the cumbersome nature of the Nigeria judiciary system \and the refusal of the NASU leadership to organise sustained political actions to mount pressure on the judiciary, the legal battle was not able to yield any significant result until the struggle that ousted prof. Akorada as the ED of the institute broke out on November 2nd, 2015.

This point is very important because it clearly showed that without the November 2nd struggle, it is not likely that the Akoroda-led administration would have been terminated let alone the setting up of committee whose recommendations led to the out of court settlement and the eventual recall of the 95 sacked workers. .

The huge political advancement and gains opened-up by the November 2nd 2015 political actions obviously gave a practical credence to the consistent suggestion of Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR), a platform formed by Democratic Socialist Movement, (DSM) on the need for the national leadership of NASU to organise sustained political action to complement the legal battle toward deepening the agitation for the reinstatement of the sacked workers. Stressing this is to emphasise the point that it took just six weeks of political action to force the commencement of the process that culminated in the eventual reinstatement of the 95 sacked workers – something that could not be accomplished with over two years of legal battle.

The reinstatement of the sacked workers and subsequent confirmation of their appointment which they were denied before their sack despite the fact that most of them had spent more than the two years of probation period stipulated in the Public Service Rule, PSR-02030 was indeed a great political victory. The various processes that led to this are important lessons for the labour movement.

One of these lessons is that that with courageous leadership armed with appropriate tactics and strategies, the struggle of the working class against attacks on both the democratic and economic rights could enjoy overwhelming support from the working people

Given the lessons inherent in the CRIN struggle and the victory, there will be a need for the leadership of the reinstated unions in the institute to organise a public symposium to appraise the gains, pains and lessons of the CRIN struggle with a view to broaden and deepen the confidence of the working people in their own collective power as a veritable tool for the struggle for a social change. This kind of a public meeting can also be used as a medium to openly deepen the demand for the immediate probe of various allegations of corruption levelled against the ousted Prof. Akoroda-led administration.

In conclusion, CDWR uses this medium to express its fraternal appreciation to various national and international labour organisations, civil society organisations, individuals and the general public who at one time or the other supported and solidarised with the CRIN struggle. We urge individuals and groups who are impressed with the tactics and method of CDWR/DSM and are interested to join to contact the following numbers: 08033914091; 08161836554; 07066249160; 08062798179.