Workers must take the struggle to the next level
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) is campaigning for the full implementation of the new legal minimum wage of 18,000 Nigerian Naira (80 Euro, 71 British Pound, 116 US Dollar) per month. We publish here the text of a leaflet, distributed in the Osun state where workers have been on strike in support of this demand.
N18, 000 MINIMUM WAGE: Workers must take the struggle to the next level
- Workers must organise mass rallies, protest marches, pickets throughout the state.
- Strike committees must be set up in all the local governments
- N18, 000 minimum wage for all OYES volunteers with their right to join unions.
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Osun State enjoins workers in the state to take the current justified struggle for full implementation of the legally binding N18, 000.00 minimum wage to the next level by organizing peaceful mass action and mass sensitization of the general public in order to stop the propaganda of the Aregbesola government against the workers.
It is glaring that the Aregbesola government, which rode to power on the back of the working and poor people in Osun State, is hell-bent in denying workers their rightful minimum wage. On the contrary, it is trying to use all weapons in its arsenal to defeat workers, not only for the present struggle but for the future. Therefore, workers and their leaders should stop having the illusion that only sit-at-home strike will defeat the government. Nature abhors vacuum. In the absence of well-organized mass actions with public mass campaigns including mass mobilization of not only workers in the state sector, but including the poor and working people in general, then poor people could be bought by the government’s propaganda. We need to realize that the strike affects the poor more, so the intention is not to have elongated strike, but to force government to concede to workers’ demands within a short time. Without well organized mass actions and campaigns, the strike will be elongated, which may make people, including those who support the strike, to be worn out. This may give the labour leaders excuse to accept lower pay from government. We must avoid this.
As we have said in our several publications, sit-at-home strikes deny workers the opportunity to organize mass campaigns including peaceful mass protests, rallies, pickets, public symposium, etc which can help workers to reach other people, especially the poor, who may be deceived by government’s propaganda that workers want to consume most of the state’s resources, without mentioning what the handful government officials consume from the same state’s purse. More than this, workers need to tell the poor people through mass rallies, protests and leaflets, what increase in wage will mean for farmers, market men and women, artisans, etc, whose sales and income will also increase. That is, an increase in workers’ wages is a form of wealth redistribution in favour of the poor.
Workers need to explain to the poor and working people in the state, through mass actions, that the so-called development projects the Aregbesola government claimed it wants to spend state’s resources on is nothing but a ruse. For instance, the government claimed it has saved over N8 billion in the past eight months, but this has not reflected in social infrastructure such as education, health, water supply, mass housing, etc, for which the government budgeted billions in the 2011 budget. Education sector has not received any fundamental improvement for the past nine months as our public primary, secondary and tertiary institutions are still in their poor states (dilapidated classrooms, inadequate or poorly equipped laboratories, libraries and workshops, lack of adequate sports facilities, etc). While the government declares free education, which we welcome, it has refused to fund schools properly in terms of facilities and adequate running cost, thus making pupils, students and even teachers to be contributing money for some materials and even repair of schools. The school feeding programme which provides free feeding for pupils in primary schools has been cancelled without any alternative. In the health sector, aside absence of improvement in health facilities in the state, the government, in a show of high level of irresponsibility, has ignored the demands of the striking health workers, who are demanding improvement in facilities and better conditions of service. Most cities and communities in the state lack basic and clean water supply, as the government is clearly non-existent in this sector at all; yet the government want the state to be clean, without potable pipe borne water.
From these examples, it is clear the so-called development projects of the government is nothing more than siphoning of the state resources through junketing round the world under the guise of looking for investors, over bloated salaries for politicians and bogus contracts (when ministry of works can effectively execute most of these projects at far lower cost, if it is well equipped and staffed). Workers must explain to the people that, with the increasing revenue from the federation account, Aregbesola government can effectively pay N18,000 minimum wage, and still have enough to develop the state, if the enormous wastes of politicians in power are drastically reduced. Workers must demand that the government tell the world how much the politicians in power consume from the state’s income.
Moreover, workers need to also then include the demands of other oppressed people in their current struggle, for instance, the OYES volunteers who are paid meagre wages (less than N10, 000), denied the right to unionize and not given the rights of normal worker (which is against the enabling labour law that compels every employer of over 50 workers to regularize their employment). Workers need to raise this particular demand, as the OYES volunteers can be used to break workers’ strikes. An element of this was witnessed few days ago, where the government wanted to pitch the poor OYES Volunteers against their worker compatriots. We enjoin the OYES volunteers not to be used by the government against the workers, as the state government does not have their interests at heart but just want to exploit their conditions to defeat workers. We also call on workers and their unions to include the demands of not only the OYES volunteers but that of the generality of the poor people in their current struggle. Only the collective struggles of the workers, unemployed (including the OYES volunteers), peasants, artisans, market men and women, students, professionals, etc that can defeat an anti-people government.
Consequently, we in DSM propose the following programmes of actions:
1. Peaceful Mass actions such as protest marches, rallies, pickets, etc.
2. Immediate formation of strike committees in all the local governments. Such committees must include all the representatives of all unions, civil society groups, student groups, etc, which will organize mass actions at the local levels.
3. Establishment of a regular workers’ bulletin/newspaper and leaflets to inform, educate and mobilize working and poor people in the state.
4. Regular congresses at state and local levels to continue to build support amongst the poor people.
1. Total implementation of the N18, 000 minimum wage at all levels without retrenchment of a single worker or increase in tax.
2. Immediate concession to the demands of the striking health workers in the state and for massive improvement in health facilities in the state. For free and functional health facilities in the state.
3. Immediate end to the slave conditions of OYES Volunteers. For their immediate integration into the civil service, implementation of N18, 000 wage for them and allowance to join unions.
4. For massive improvement in education facilities in public schools including provision of free and functional education at all levels and payment of adequate running cost for schools. For restoration and improvement of the school feeding programme for all children of school age.
5. Immediate improvement in public infrastructures in the state. No to government of contracts; for immediate equipping of Works Ministry to undertake government project.
6. All political officers must not earn more than the salaries of workers.
7. Public ownership of the commanding height of the economy under the democratic control of the working and oppressed people.
Ultimately, workers must go beyond mere economic demands. We need to ask ourselves why we continue to elect anti-workers politicians into power only to fight them when they get power. Why don’t we stop electing our enemies (who are organized in all the major capitalist political parties in Nigeria today) into power. Workers and oppressed people need their own working people’s party that will implement pro-workers and pro-poor peoples’ policies.
If you are dissatisfied with all the anti-worker, anti-poor capitalist policies of governments at all levels, and you are interested in a fight back against these policies, the organization to join is the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM). We are a socialist organization that believes that workers should organize themselves under militant labour movement and a political banner to contest political power with the capitalist governments in power today; then they can defeat the government and its policies. We canvass that workers and their unions must fight for a socialist society where the commanding heights of the economy will be collectively owned and democratically controlled for the interests of the majority and not that of the minority as is being witnessed currently under capitalism. To this end, we participate in the mass movements of workers and the oppressed people. We participate in workers’ movements such as the Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO), students’ movement and community movements. If you believe in our cause, and you want to join us, contact us through our address. You can also donate to our organization to further the struggle for a better society.
DSM Osun State Chapter
Address: Suite 34 (Top Floor), Abiola Shopping Complex, 123 Station Road, Beside Total Filling Station, Osogbo.
Tel: 08083003385, 08059399178