2020 MAY DAY: CDWR FELICITATES WITH WORKERS IN NIGERIA AND THE WORLD
CDWR CALLS ON WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS TO RESIST NEO-LIBERAL ATTACKS
NO TO LOSS OF JOBS, UNPAID LEAVE AND PAYMENT OF FRACTIONAL SALARIES AS A RESULT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) felicitates with workers in Nigeria and the world in these trying times of global pandemic and economic crises.
As we go forward, there will be efforts by the government and employers to make workers’ pay for the economic crisis provoked by COVID-19 pandemic. Appeals to the good sense of the employers or government will not be enough. The dynamics of capitalism itself, as well as history, evidently shows that capitalism has no other way but to attack the living conditions of workers in order to recover from a crisis. Already the viciously anti-worker Governor of Kaduna State, El-Rufai, is proposing a 25% pay cut on civil servants as a contribution to the fight against COVID-19. Similarly, Arik Air has asked 90% of staff to embark on compulsory leave without pay while imposing an 80% pay cut. In hotels and tourism and several other industries, workers are either losing pay or their jobs altogether. Entreaties are not enough. Only the readiness of the labour movement to launch coordinated strike actions and protests can defeat these attacks.
As a starting point, the CDWR calls on the NLC, TUC, ULC and JAF to launch a “Workers Charter” as a manifesto or a call for action to begin to mobilize the labour movement to stoutly resist any attacks on wages, jobs and livelihood of the working masses. This charter must also proclaim the fact that capitalism has been shown to be incapable of taking society forward and call for the building of a mass workers party armed with socialist policies.
Before COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crises, most Nigerian workers are confined to insecure employment contract (casualization and contract staffing), low pay and other indecent work practices coupled with the rising cost of living and poverty. The N30,000 Minimum Wage has been implemented haphazardly by the federal and different state governments while many private companies are yet to implement it. More than ever before, the trade union leaders have to wage a concerted struggle to force the minimum wage implementation and to end casualization, contract staffing and other indecent work practices.
COVID-19 pandemic has clearly exposed the capitalist governments across the world as vulnerable and weak when it comes to social welfare, more so healthcare delivery system. The lack of adequate response and a weak healthcare delivery system was responsible for the high COVID-19 infection and deaths. Neocolonial countries like Nigeria with low productive capacity, healthcare, education and other basic amenities are for the highest bidder, medical and educational tourism are the norm for the privileged rich ruling elite while the vast majority working masses are at the mercy of the ramshackle and backward social amenities. The budgetary allocation for healthcare is a paltry N441 billion and just 4.16% of the total budget, it explains why malaria kills about 300,000 Nigerians annually, Lassa Fever is still ravaging Nigeria amongst other diseases. Not only that hospitals lack basic facilities including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), our hospitals are grossly inadequate.
Capitalism also lacks a human face considering the soaring of prices of basic medical facilities in a period of a pandemic; for instance, ventilators soared from about $20,000 to $45,000 in the US while in Nigeria, the price of a carton of face mask moved up shockingly from N11,000 to over N200,000, the price of a carton of hand glove moved from N14,000 to N45,000.
Currently, many families have been thrown into penury, hunger and crises because many breadwinners who work with private firms or are self-employed have not earned a kobo due to the economic crises while many others will get fractional salaries. The effect of COVID-19 pandemic will be most felt by the working people considering the crash in crude oil price, the falling value of Naira vis-à-vis devaluation, job losses, inflation and higher cost of living. For sure, the bourgeois ruling elite and top political office holders who earn jumbo salaries, allowance, privileges, perks and unaccounted security votes will not be affected in any way, rather many governors will intensify unpaid salaries regime, federal and state government will cut the already inadequate social welfare budgetary allocations, the private sector will sack on the basis of redundancy and hike in electricity tariff.
On the occasion of the 2020 May Day, CWDR calls on the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and United Labour Congress (ULC) in alliance with the Joint Action Front (JAF) and other pro-workers organizations to be prepared to defend the interest of workers in public and private sector employment. All past compromises, social partnership and illusions in the benevolence of the government and employers are no more tenable. In the milieu that we have now entered, the only way to seriously defend workers interests are through mass struggle.
To fundamentally end this iniquitous, self-serving and parasitic capitalist rule, the working people have to struggle to defeat capitalism and entrenching socialism by forming and building a mass political party of the working class and poor. Only socialism wherein resources are collectively owned and democratically and transparently managed by the working people can meet the needs of all and rescue Nigeria and humanity at large.
CDWR Demands the payment of full salaries and we are also opposed to redundancy and sack of workers.
Comrade Rufus Olusesan
Email: CDWR: [email protected]