Workers at the Abuja Urban Mass Transit Company (AUMTCO) called off their strike commenced on Wednesday 20th July 2016 to press home their demand for the payment of a 4-month backlog of salaries among last Thursday.
The workers under the auspices of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Service Technical and Recreational Service Employees (AUPCTRE) FCT Council, called off the 2-month old strike on Thursday 29th September 2016, with the payment of four months salaries to the workers.
While they are yet to be paid for the two months during which they were on strike, as a result of the management’s failure to fulfil its own obligation to pay salaries as and when due, there was a strong sense of victory, with the payment of the four months salaries.
There were several attempts to break the strike. The height of this was when the ministry of the FCT tried to move out 25 of the company’s mass transit buses, from the AUTMCO compound on Monday, 19th September. The workers mobilized in their mass, taking over the gates of the compound before 7.00am, that morning.
Members of Socialist Workers League joined this mass protest and equally joined the workers’ to meet with the ministry, insisting that the workers be paid or more of our members would be march with the AUTMCO, if necessary action was not taken to do the needful – pay the workers!
All these go to show that when we dare to struggle, we dare to win. The AUTMCO workers’ strike should serve as an inspiration for workers who are being owed backlogs of salaries across different states in the country. The decision to suspend the industrial action was contained in a press release signed by AUPCTRE secretary FCT council/deputy HOD industrial relations com. Sikiru Waheed, who also informed that the union would continue with negotiations for the payment of the now remaining two months salaries.
As comrade Waheed ponted out, if the management of AUTMCO fails to do the needful soonest, the workers would have no other choice but to resume the strike action. This is the way to go in fighting for the payments of unpaid salaries. Negotiations must at best only be part of the arsenal of struggle of the workers. It cannot be substitute for organizing our strength.
SWL salutes the AUTMCO workers. Solidarity forever!
by Peter Adejobi