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No to Mass Sack of Oyo State Workers

Rufus Olusesan (Chairman), Victor Osakwe (Secretary)

25 September 2007

Labour Must Declare a Nation-wide Mass Solidarity Action

The Campaign for Democratic and Workersí Rights (CDWR), condemns the recent mass sack of about 34 thousand civil servants in Oyo State by the Alao Akala-led PDP government. This is not only an attempt to keep workers on poverty wages it is also a crude effect to break trade unionism in Oyo. We call on labour and pro-masses organizations not only to condemn this draconian action but immediately act to mobilize workers and masses for mass protests across the country to defeat it.

The workers have been on strike for the over four weeks to press home their demand for implementation of N9, 400 new minimum wage across board. Therefore, the mass sack must not be allowed to eclipse the original demand of workers for pay rise. In other words, labour and mass organizations must not fall for the antics of the government who may be trying to employ the recall of workers as its bargaining power in the minimum wage negotiation. The demand must be for immediate and unconditional recall of workers and implementation of a comprehensive N9, 400 minimum wage without retrenchment.

CDWR considers the argument of Alao Akala government that the on-going strike is politically motivated as a ranting of an illegitimate government that only sits in office because it stole Aprilís elections. The massive support the strike enjoyed among workers in the state show they are not fooled by the government. The struggle is waged to improve the welfare of workers and families. Besides, the new minimum wage being demanded by the workers is already being implemented for Federal Government workers and some state governments.

The CDWR holds that the anti-worker action of the government is part of its anti-people policies which are characteristic of usurper capitalist politicians who naturally feel not duty bound to workers and poor people since they donít have or need their mandate to govern.

Indeed, the action of the Alao Akala government becomes more barbaric given the fact that in Oyo State the civil servants constitute the largest proportion of salary earners with a large population of dependants.

However, the criminal silence of the Federal Government and national leadership of PDP on the development in Oyo state further reveals the real face of this party as monstrous, inhuman and anti-poor working masses.

From the revenues of Oyo state, both internally generated and federal allocation, we hold the strong view that the government can afford to pay N9, 400 minimum wage to workers across board and in fact, implement more pro-masses policies without tears. The problem is that paying the money will adversely affect the huge fund out of the state revenue reserved to keep bloated political appointees, capitalist jobbers, hustlers and hangers on.

Besides, we are sure that Akala government will not wink at implementing immediately over 200% increment in salaries and entitlements for political office holders in the state as proposed by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

The CDWR therefore earnestly calls on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO) to immediately begin mass mobilization for a nation-wide day of solidarity actions with strike and protests to demand unconditional recall of all the workers and payment of the N9, 400 minimum wage without loss of jobs. The official rascality and roguery being exhibited in Oyo State must not be allowed to stay otherwise it becomes a bad precedent to be copied by other governments. Besides, it demoralizes workers and weakens their resolve to fight for their rights.

Also urgently, beyond Oyo State labour should come up with a comprehensive programme of actions to ensure that all the states of federation implement the 15% pay rise without any worker losing his/her job.

An injury to one is an injury to all.