N18, 000 MINIMUM WAGE:
Workers Should Fight For Full Implementation
* For a 48-hour Warning Strike
* For a Workers’ Congress to kick-start the Struggle
We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Osun State, chapter salute the courage and steadfastness of workers in their for the full implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage, passed into law over a year ago. The Aregbesola/ACN-led Osun State government, despite failing to fully implement this statutory amount, has been making all sorts of deceptive statements that what workers are being paid is N19, 001 minimum wage. However, this in reality is a total falsehood as there has been only a meager increase on workers’ salaries. What obtains is a situation where the least paid workers are paid N19, 001 while the workers especially from level 5 upward, who constitute the vast majority of the workforce, only see a very meager increase (between N4, 000 and N10, 000) in their salaries. This is clearly a mockery of the minimum wage. Workers must continue to reject this dubious arrangement but demand full implementation of the minimum wage.
13th Month Salary: Yes, but Pay the N18, 000 Minimum Wage too
Equally, workers must reject the position of government that the payment of 13th month salary amount to full implementation of the minimum wage. While we welcome any improvement in workers’ welfare, no matter how minimal including the government’s 13th month salary – a token allowance that is around 25 percent of a monthly basic salary, we maintain that this should not be an excuse for the state government not to fulfill a statutory responsibility of payment of N18, 000 minimum wage. Failure in that respect amounts to a violation of an existing law. This is clearly a big blow to the rule of law mantra of the government.
Workers must be ready to mount pressure on the leadership of the NLC and TUC in the state to call a TWO-DAY WARNING STRIKE for the immediate implementation of the minimum wage. The massive call for implementation of the new wage increase by rank-and-file workers during the last May Day Celebrations has clearly shown that the mass of workers are ready to struggle. The leadership of the two congresses (NLC and TUC) must not succumb to the pressure and propaganda of the state government in any manner on this issue but provide a steadfast and consistent leadership to the minimum wage struggle.
Strategies for Victory
To make the struggle effective and achieve its set-out demands, workers must build solid mass actions with educative materials like leaflets and posters to mobilize the support of other oppressed sections of the society for the struggle. Equally there is need to build Strike Coordinating Committees at local and state levels and thereby involving more of the active workers in the discussion and debate on taking the struggle forward and to act as pressure on the labour leadership not to compromise the struggle half-way. Such strike coordinating committees will help in direct mobilization and monitoring of the strike.
This is necessary in order to isolate the government and prevent it from using any section of the working people against workers. This should be done by linking the demand for minimum wage implementation with provision of genuine and decent jobs as opposed to the slave-labour schemes of the state government (OYES) which engage young people on casual basis and deny them right to a national minimum wage or to unionize. This is in order to avoid a situation where the state government will mobilize other oppressed sections of society against the workers.
Reject all the Capitalist Parties
Overall, workers must conclude that given the neo-liberal and anti-worker framework in which all the major capitalist parties (ACN, PDP, CPC, LP, etc) operate, the ACN and other capitalist governments cannot meet all the interests and aspirations of the toiling and working masses. This is clear as the N18, 000 minimum wage, even if fully implemented will be reduced by other attacks such as high fee in state-owned educational institutions, taxes, dilapidation and commercialization of public infrastructures and institutions. This therefore necessitates that workers build their own independent political platform based on programmes of putting the resources of society under democratic collective ownership for the benefit of all. This will mean committing public resources that are being looted by politicians in major political parties and their business associates, to public and social infrastructures – education, healthcare, road, housing, agriculture, etc.
The Socialist Party of Nigeria stands for these programmes, and it will run candidates on these programmes. Our candidates will take the wage of civil servant and commit the rest of the bloated pay to community and workers’ movement. This is why we participate in all the working and poor people’s struggles and agitations for better living and working conditions. We urge workers to join us and let us build a genuine socialist alternative to the vicious cycle of misery and nightmare that the current disorderly capitalist arrangement being defended by all the capitalist governments including the Aregbesola/ACN government, represents.
If you are dissatisfied with the various anti-poor capitalist policies being implemented by governments at all levels and you want to fight back against these policies, and finding genuine political alternative to all the anti-poor governments, then the party to join is the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN).
SPN Osun Chapter Address: Suite 34, Top Floor, Abiola Shopping Complex, Station Road, beside Total filling station, Osogbo or call/text Tel: 08083003385, 08059399178
Issued: June 2012