Socialist Workers & Youth League (SWL) throw its full support behind the call by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for a 5-day warning strike against the mass sack of public sector workers in Kaduna State. All SWL members in all our branches across the country shall join the action when it commences on 17 May 2021. The mass retrenchment of workers in a period of health, economic and humanitarian crises is highly insensitive to say the least. Such an attack on the working-class is also a clear manifestation of the failures of the El-Rufai-led Kaduna State government and the system as a whole.
The El-Rufai-led State government has plunged Kaduna state into persistent crises, creating what is probably the worst crisis situation in the history of the state. Kaduna state has become a haven for murderous bandits and kidnappers. Just between January and March 2021, over 949 people have been kidnapped and 323 people killed by bandits in Kaduna State.
These include students some of whom are still held in captivity. 5 of the 24 Greenfield University students that were abducted on 20 April have been killed. Yet the state government is doing next to nothing to secure the release of the remaining students.
Amidst the rising insecurity in the state, the El-Rufai-led state government is unrelenting in its attacks on workers, whose poor and precarious conditions have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis and its aftermath. It is on record that well over 30,000 workers have bee sacked by the El-Rufai-led state government in the last 6 years. And many of these workers are yet to be paid their terminal benefits. The state government is also planning to convert workers in the public service on level 1 to level 6 to casual workers.
Clearly the position of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) as contained in its May Day statement that, mass sack of workers since 2015 is responsible for insecurity in Kaduna and neighboring states, is very much on point.
We understand the attacks on the poor masses by El-Rufai and the government that he leads are conscious acts to push the burden of the crises created by systemic failure on the working-class people. Elements of such conscious but disastrous reactions to the failure of the capitalist system can also be found in the plan of the Federal Government to reduce workers salaries. These are total violation of workers’ rights and attacks on the Labour movement and must be confronted with mass organized resistance.
It is without a doubt that we can only win against the insensitive and self-serving governments, at both the federal and state levels, if we organize to fight back.
It is on this basis that we support the 5-day warning strike of the NLC. We would like to clearly state that socioeconomic attacks on workers are not peculiar to Kaduna State. About 16 states are yet to commence payment of the N30,000 minimum wage, in a period when negotiations for another upward review of the minimum wage (and which must be a living wage this time), should have commenced. We thus call on NLC, TUC and all their affiliates to take action on the unyielding states and commence work on winning a new national minimum, which will be a living wage, now.
We also call on the TUC and all radical organizations to join the 5-day warning strike. It is only our unity and determination that can bring to birth a new world that will put the working-class people first.