Oyo State Chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has called for urgent interventions of the leadership of the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in the pockets of workers agitations and strikes that are breaking out across various government-owned establishments in the state. The party believes that a 24-hour state-wide solidarity strike with a mass demonstration in Ibadan will go a long way to support the strike and compel the state government to accede to the laudable demands of the striking workers.
In a statement signed by the State Secretary- Comrade Ayodeji Adigun, SPN stated that the wave of workers strike is spreading like a wildfire across various government establishments at the present time in the state.
The party recalled that the first workers industrial action started a few months ago with a 14- day ultimatum issued on June 11, 2020 by the Association of Resident Doctors at Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso and a threat to down tools should the Management of the Hospital and the Engr Seyi Makinde led Oyo State Government fail to respond to their list of demands.
“Followed by this was an indefinite strike embarked upon on the Monday, 11th January, 2021 by workers in the Polytechnic of Ibadan who include both the academic and non-academic staff, to protest against the continued failure of Makinde-led government to commence the implementation of the new minimum wage of N30, 000 for workers in the institution and overreaching and unlawful activities of the consultant imposed on the Institution by the state government”.
“The workers strikes rocking the state owned tertiary institutions got deeper on the 4th February, 2021 when workers who are organised under the Non-academic staff union, NASU at Emmanuel Alayande College of Education (EACOED) Oyo embarked on a 7-day warning strike. This strike was also against non-payment of 9years promotion arrears, non-payment of annual increment, non-inclusion of non-teaching staff in the constitution of the governing council, withdrawal of the already issued 2018 promotion letters to qualified recipients, among other issues”
“Not excluded from this wave of workers strike is the Oyo State water cooperation, which was also grounded for few days following a strike declared on Thursday, 28th January, 2021, by state leadership of AUPTRE, the union under which the water cooperation workers are organised. This was after the expiration of a 72-hour ultimatum given to the State government by the union over a number of issues which includes: non-remittance of deduction made from workers salary by Engr Seyi Makinde-led government, lack of chemicals required for the use of the cooperation workers in carrying out their duties effectively and failure to increase the subvention to the cooperation in order to accommodate the implementation of the new minimum wage of N30, 000 for its staff. Meanwhile, the said strike has been suspended with a condition that government should meet all of their demands within two weeks”.
“However, the workers had vowed to resume the suspended strike immediately without any notice should the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government fails to meet their demands within the stipulated period. Except this is averted, it will definitely have a ripple effects across the State as workers in other government establishments like Judiciary who have also been denied the benefit of the new minimum wage of N30hhh, 000 could be encouraged to embark on strike to advance their demands. Workers in other tertiary institutions in the State may also follow suit.”.
“According to media reports, the salary received for the month of January 2021 by workers in virtually all the tertiary institutions across the State did not reflect the agreement recently signed between the State government and the leadership of the joint action committee, (JAC) of all the Unions in some of these State owned tertiary institutions. This development had been described as a breach in the trust reposed in Engr Seyi Makinde-led government and except the government complies with this agreement, workers in all the affected five state-own tertiary institutions could also be compelled to commence an industrial action”.
“Going by this wave of workers strikes that are breaking out from one government establishment to another across the state, it is obvious that all of the claim often peddled by Engr Seyi Makinde-led government that its regime is worker friendly is either a mere deceit or grandstanding. This is not to say that the regime has not been paying salaries and pension promptly as often claimed but the point to be stressed is that the growing waves of strikes of workers across the state have shown that the so-called regular payment of workers salary and pension is too little, insufficient and tokenistic to address the welfare demands of workers in the State”.
“This has further underscored the fact that no government formed and run on the basis of capitalist ideology and its neo-liberal policies like public private partnership, PPP and contract system is capable of satisfying the overall economic interest and desire of the working people no matter how much it tries to pretend to be people and workers friendly”
“It is in the recognition of this fact and the pro-capitalist orientation of the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government, SPN further urges the state leadership NLC and TUC that the proposal of a need for its intervention in the ongoing wave of workers strikes in the state is not just limited to the building of a united front but to see how much it can take the advantage of the intervention to begin the process of mobilising the rank and file workers in the state in preparation for a fightback against inevitable attack on both the living and working condition of the working people. This is very important especially when it is obvious that the sustainability of the so-called prompt payment of salary and pension by the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government is highly in doubt, given the allegations that the prompt payment of both the salary and pension is being driven by the heaps of debts the Makinde’s led administration has incurred since its inauguration.”
“Most importantly, the state leadership of labour and the rank and file workers in the state should draw the conclusion from their experience that only a government formed by the workers and the poor people themselves and run on the basis of socialist programme and ideology can satisfy the overall economic and political interest of mass of the working people in Oyo State and nationally. Therefore, to enthrone this kind of government requires workers, youths and the poor people of Oyo State to join and help build SPN as a mass-based working people political party in the state” the statement concluded.