Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



The sack of 450 Lagos State Water Corporation workers on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, in a period of economic crisis is insensitive and anti-workers. This mass sack will not only throw the affected workers into more poverty but also deepen the socio-economic problems they already face.

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) condemns the mass sack and demands the reinstatement of the 450 workers to full employment with all rights and benefits accruable to regularized workers in the civil service. CDWR also calls the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service and Recreational Service Employees (AUPCTRE) to engage the Lagos State Government as a means of demanding the reinstatement of the sacked workers and if need be employ mass actions including strike and protests.

According to a report in the Punch newspaper published on Friday, December 8, 2023, many of the sacked workers had worked several years, including up to ten years in service. In the same report, the Public Relations Officer of the Corporation Kehinde Fashola claimed that some of the workers breached the contract of agreement by staying in employment beyond 2 years.

The reason put forward by the Lagos State Government is as pedestrian as it is lame. Even if the contract states a duration, the reality is that the corporation needs more workers than it presently has, and that is indeed why the workers were hitherto allowed to stay beyond two years albeit as casuals. According to one of the staff who spoke to the Punch newspaper, “We do not have enough staff. As big as this place is, only one person is left to clean it. There were many of us at the maintenance units before, but now there are just three of us left.”

Also importantly, it is rather unfortunate that the Lagos State Government criminally operate the same exploitative contract employment system that has pervaded the private sector. Besides, the state government brazenly violated labour laws and the rights of the affected workers by not regularizing their employment but choosing to keep them as casuals.

Given the importance of water in society and the gross failure of the Lagos State government to deliver clean water to Lagosians, the government ought to invest massively in the corporation to expand capacity, employ more workers, and deliver potable water to more people on a mass scale. Rather than do this, the government is carrying out mass sacking under the guise of restructuring. It is the same Lagos State government that spends billions of Naira to buy expensive cars for a few privileged government officials but cannot invest in social services that will create jobs and provide clean water.

The reality is that the Lagos State Government and the self-serving ruling elite do not prioritize the needs of the people, the same government is hell-bent on privatizing the water corporation (selling it to cronies at rock-bottom price). So, as far as we are concerned the mass sack, which will be likely consolidated in future, is in preparation for the eventual privatization agenda. We call on working people, labour and pro-masses organizations in Lagos to reject the planned privatization of the water corporation and demand massive investment in the corporation as a means to rejuvenate it and at the same time expand its capacity to service more areas and Lagosians with clean water.

Comrade Rufus Olusesan

National Chairperson

Comrade Chinedu Bosah

National Publicity Secretary

E-mail: [email protected]