The offices of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) were shut for 3 days in the first half of March. This was as a result of a warning strike called by the NNRA branch of PENGASSAN, after a 14-day ultimatum.
The workers were protesting against management’s impunity and over working conditions. Speaking to Socialist Worker some of the striking workers at the gate of the Agency in Abuja said the Director-General, Mr. Lawrence Dim is mean and very much anti-workers.
Salaries and allowances of some staff have been cut over the past few months. Meanwhile, the 2014 training allowances for union activists were seized as a punitive measure to punish them for leading an earlier strike, that year. The promotion letters for workers who underwent promotion tests last year have also not been released.
Despite the continued violation of trade union rights by the Agency’s management, the PENGASSAN branch has continually pursued collective bargaining processes. According to Comrade Ifreke Udeme, the branch chairman, several agreements have been reached with management. But “once such agreements were reached, management would take a different decision.”
Mr. Dim as a person might be a vindictive and the NNRA management might be very plain in demonstrating its class position as a tool of the bosses. But, the fact of the matter is that, managements as a whole, are instruments which are part and parcel of the elite class to maintain its domination over and continued exploitation of the working class.
Essentially, our struggle is not to be under a more benevolent form of wage-slavery and the bosses’ oppressive weight. We need nothing to lose but our chains and the whole world to gain, from struggle, as Karl Marx said, many years back. As workers, we must fight to overthrow the capitalist system and build a socialist society, with workers’ power.
But, defeating the capitalists and building a working people’s democratic society can only come about as the end of a revolutionary process. Every struggle over wages, working conditions and against dictatorial management tactics like those of the NNRA management are important in two ways.
First, they are important in themselves as we gain concessions when we dare to fight and we win. Second, and in the long run, more importantly: through such struggle, we can learn more about the totality of the class war we are waging, within such specific battles. Drawing on lessons learnt, as working class activists, we build our organization and deepen our consciousness to be able to win our self-emancipation, eventually and build socialism.
Socialist Worker fully supports NNRA workers in the ongoing battle. The PENGASSAN branch must not relent in this struggle. There should be mass mobilization of membership for an all-out strike action until the workers’ demands are met. If we dare to struggle, we dare to win.
- Lionel Akpoyivo