‘Attack On NLC President, Ajaero Shouldn’t Be Sole Reason For Nationwide Strike Or Calling It Off; Consider Hardship Of Nigerians – Workers Rights Campaign | #NwokeukwuMascot
The Workers' Rights Campaign (WRC) has berated the organised labour for accepting false promises from the Nigerian government instead and suspending the nationwide strike.
The WRC on Friday in a release added that the “lives of labour union bureaucrats” should not be considered more important than the lives of the working people in Nigeria and hence, the brutalisation of Comrade Joe Agero shouldn't have been the sole trigger for the strike or its suspension.
The WRC affiliated with the Socialist Workers League, however, commended the leadership of the NLC and TUC for going on strike despite what it described as a "black market injunction of the National Industrial Court" aimed at preventing the labour unions from exercising their right to strike.
WRC which stated this in a statement on Friday which was signed by its National Coordinator, Kelvin Ayemhenre, also commended affiliates like Academic Staff Union of Universities, SSANU, NUEE, among others for standing in solidarity during this critical time.
The group stated, "It is both abnormal and concerning for the Nigerian justice system to issue such an order, and even more so for labour unions to allow it to hinder their fight for the interests of the working class in Nigeria.
"As we argued when NLC called off a would-have-been strike after President Bola Tinubu's infamous inauguration speech, the trade unions should at no time surrender political initiative to illegitimate use of legality such as court orders.
"By going ahead with the strike, NLC and TUC have ensured the state’s accountability for the attack on the NLC president. But, while we commend the strike action, it's essential to point out that the rank-and-file workers have been looking up to the trade union leaders for similar action since Tinubu assumed office and started implementing extensive neo-liberal policies that have adversely affected the working people of Nigeria.
"These include the removal of the PMS “subsidy”, floating the naira against the dollar, a 40% increase in traffic, VAT on diesel and PMS, and the introduction of tuition fees in state-owned universities, all of which have significantly worsened the lives and living conditions of the poor masses."
It added, "Despite these attacks, the labour union leadership never declared an indefinite strike to demand the reversal of these harmful policies. Not even after a 2-day strike which was supposed to lead to one. They were content to accept false promises from government instead.
"This begs the question, “Is the lives of labour union bureaucrats considered more important than the lives of the working people in Nigeria?” The brutalisation of Comrade Joe Agero shouldn't have been the sole trigger for the strike; instead, the ongoing economic attacks warranted and still require a robust response.
"Additionally, a meticulous examination of the demands presented by the labour unions during the strike underscores their inadequacy, as they failed to address the root causes of the assault. Governor Hope Uzodimma is still owing over 13 months' salaries to Imo workers. This is a critical issue that regrettably did not receive the emphasis it deserved in the unions demands.
"It is also noteworthy that the labour union bureaucrats, regrettably, refrained from using the strike as an opportunity to shed light on the previously mentioned neo-liberal attacks. Such a move would have indicated a genuine concern for the well-being of workers."
"Now, more than ever, it is crucial for workers and the unions to resist neo-liberal policies that are making life unbearable for poor workers. We have seen that NLC & TUC can once again lead strikes at short notice even in the face of court injunctions.
"Such demonstration of workers power should now be deployed to win: A new minimum wage of N200,000 & a sliding scale of wages to inflation forthwith
"Reversal of fuel pump price and the floating of the naira ; Reversal of tertiary school fees and the provision of free & quality education as a right. Halting the casualusation of labour and the spread of precarious work. Social protection for all working people in the public sector, private sector and informal economy."