Seal-off head office, organise 3-day national strike

by Nnamdi Ikeagu

Protesting-ITF-workers1Staff of the Industrial Training Fund across the country organised a 3-day warning strike at the end of November, demanding the sack of Ms Juliet Chukka-Onaeko as Director-General. The workers who are members of the Senior Staff Association of Communication, Transport and Corporations (SSACTAC) and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Employees (AUPCTRE), sealed off the establishment’s head office at Bukuru, Jos, for the duration of the strike.

Comrade Ishaya Audu, the ITF AUPCTRE branch chairman expressed the workers’ grievance with the way Chukka-Onaeko runs ITF, alleging a culture of corruption and impunity. She appropriated over N21m for foreign trips to seven countries and claimed to have used N249m to renovate the Fund’s headquarters.

Deductions from workers’ wages for pensions have not been remitted to their Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA), while the DG also unilaterally dissolved the board of the Fund’s staff school. The workers also said she spends much more time in Abuja than in the Fund’s office.

In the course of this struggle, the unions in ITF constituted a joint Central Working Committee. There is a major lesson to be learnt from this. Not only is unity essential for workers to mobilise their strength in confronting the bosses, and thus the need for solidarity. In the course of struggle, new forms of concretising workers’ power are forged and develop.

The unions have vowed that their members will return to the barricades anytime from now, if their demands are not heeded. SWL stands in solidarity with AUPCTRE and SSACTAC. Workers united and determined cannot be defeated. But yet another lesson to draw from this struggle is that, we, working class-people can and should democratically manage and control the workplace.

Limiting the unilateral powers of individual bosses like Juliet Chukka-Onaeko is essential, but not sufficient. We are up against the capitalist system of the bosses as a whole. They are aware of this, we must equally be aware of the needful; revolution of working class-people for us to be the masters of the society, which our toil and sweat builds. This amounts to re-building society on the basis of our primary values; solidarity and cooperation.