ABBEY TROTSKY VS SUMAL FOODS LIMITED – A Call for Solidarity
Abbey faces four cases in Court over intervention in the plight of Casual Workers in Sumal
A Call for Solidarity Actions and Financial Support
Drop Trumped-up Charges against Abbey Trotsky
We of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) solicit solidarity actions including financial supports from trade unions, civil society originations, activists and people of good conscience for the ongoing campaign against the continued persecution of Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye (Abbey Trotsky) by the Nigeria Police and Sumal Foods Limited Ibadan.
The offence of Abbey Trotsky is the intervention of the CDWR in solidarity with casual workers of Sumal Foods who had embarked on strike action in October 2018 against poor pay and slave conditions in the company. The struggle won some concessions which have been rolled back. It is in order to deter workers from another fightback and keep them permanently in slave conditions that Abbey is being tied up with four different court cases. He faces two cases at magistrate courts, one of which is criminal, and two cases at industrial court.
Abbey Trotsky was first arraigned at Court 9 magistrate court, Iyaganku, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria on trumped-up criminal charges on July 24, 2019, by the Nigerian police. This was after several arrests and detentions by the police and DSS at the behest of Sumal Foods Limited. The next adjournment date of the matter, which had previously suffered three adjournments at the instance of police, is January 24, 2020. The last adjournment was necessitated by the disqualification of Mr. Adeyinka Olumide Fusika, SAN, counsel to Abbey Trotsky, by the magistrate who ruled that as a senior advocate Mr. Olumide-Fusika cannot appear in magistrate court. However, Abbey has filed an application at the high court to appeal the ruling which is a violation of his right to a lawyer of his choice. We hope that the appeal will be assigned to a court before the date the case is scheduled to come up at the magistrate court
Another case is at court 2 Magistrate Court, Iyaganku, Ibadan. It was instituted to procure an order to restrain Abbey from entering Sumal Foods premises for a period of 12 months for which they had got an ex parte order on September 28, 2019. The next adjournment date of the case is January 27th, 2020. The case has also suffered two different adjournments since it came up for the first time in September 2019.
The two cases at the industrial court Ibadan are assigned to Court 1 and Court 2 respectively while the one in court 1 will be coming up on January 21, 2020, It was filed by the management of Sumal Foods in collaboration with the leadership of National Union of Foods, Beverages and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), the workers’ union in the company. The other case in court 2 is scheduled for hearing on the 23rd January, 2020 and it was filed by the over 20 outsourcing companies that recruit over three thousand (3,000) casual workers for Sumal Foods. The applicants in both cases are seeking a restraint order barring Abbey from Sumal premises.
It is sad that the leadership of NUFBTE both in the company and at the national level are working with the Sumal management and the outsourcing companies to subject the workers in the company to slavery condition and to sustain the harassment and persecution of Abbey Trotsky. We call on the Nigeria Labour Congress to call both the union and management to order.
As stated earlier all these frivolous cases were instituted with a view of deterring members of the CDWR from intervening in the plight of poor casual workers of Sumal and also strike fear in the minds of mass of casual workers in the company especially now that the enactment of a new minimum wage of N30, 000 will mean that workers could begin to demand an increment in their daily pay.
However, no amount of court cases or intimidation can deter or distract us from continuing to fight for decent pay and human working condition for the mass of workers either in Sumal Food Limited or other workplaces across the country as part of our campaign against casualization and anti-labour practices.
We once again call on the leadership of the three labour centres – NLC, TUC and ULC – at the national and state level, civil society organizations, activists and socialists locally and internationally for solidarity actions including physical presence at the courts, public statements, and picketing of Nigerian embassies. We also request financial supports for political activities in support of the legal defence as well as our campaign against casualization in Sumal and other companies. We thank Mr. Olumide-Fusika, SAN and Citipoint Chambers for representing Abbey in all the cases free of charge.
-Police should drop all the trumped-up charges against Comrade Abbey Trotsky
-End to casualization and for improvement in pays and conditions of workers in SUMAL FOOD LIMITED and other workplaces
-Unconditional recall of all workers sacked because of their involvement on October 2, 2018 strike
-Unconditional implementation of a new minimum wage of N30,000 in Sumal, all private companies and public sector without retrenchment.
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