AS WE MARK THE 128TH ANNIVERSARY OF WORKERS’ DAY 2014
We in the Joint Action Front (JAF) salute the Nigerian working people and the poor oppressed classes as we mark the 128th Anniversary of MAY DAY. We equally salute the working people all over the world.
Our reflection on the state of the trade union movement in Nigeria revealed that Nigerian workers over the years have been weakened organizationally and ideologically by the anti-worker policies of global neo-liberalism. This has been responsible for reduction in the numerical strength of the unions, attacks on jobs, indecent work conditions and environment, poor and slave wages and violations of workers’ rights as guaranteed by local and international labour instruments.
The sad aspect of the above prevalence is that the leadership of Nigerian trade unions across board have not lived up to the expectations of the Nigerian working people in organizing against the inimical policies of the neo-liberal policies of privatization, deregulation, casualisation, contract staffing, etc.
Therefore, the critical challenges before the Nigerian trade union movement are:
1. The need for renewed commitment to the ideological and political education development of the rank and file workers in the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
2. Trade unions need to regain its credibility by fighting against the policies of privatization and deregulation, against violation of collective agreements by Government, against obnoxious laws and policies aimed at undermining the working people, against policies violating the rights of workers and sharp corrupt atrocities, etc.
3. A trade union movement that should be committed to organizing the unemployed and the informal sector workers.
4. A trade union movement that should be prepared at all times to provide leadership in the defence of the interest of the working people and oppressed classes against hike in fuel prices, electricity tariffs, excessive taxation and other infringements that undermine the living conditions of the oppressed classes in the country.
5. A trade union movement that should develop an Agenda for the unemployed and social security, decent work and living wage and that should ensure that employers and Government implement collective agreements reached with workers.
6. A trade union movement that would be committed to struggle to ensure that Agreements reached with the polytechnic and colleges of education striking workers (ASUP, SSANIP and COEASU) and the entitlements due to the Pensioners, are implemented to the fullest.
7. A trade union movement that will be committed to providing leadership for a nationwide struggle against the policies of privatization and deregulation, and for full industrialization that should ensure massive employment and expansion of infrastructure.
8. A trade union movement that is prepared to work with its main partner in the civil society – JAF – under the platform of Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO) towards the emergence of a genuine mass party of the working class and the poor as the political alternative to the political parties of the ruling class of exploiters.
FORWARD EVER, BACKWARD NEVER!!
Dr. Oladipo Fashina Comrade Abiodun Aremu
JAF Chairperson JAF Secretary