The poor majority have suffered major attacks on their living standards in the last few months. The price of petrol tripled, transport costs doubled and officially food inflation was over 30% over the year to the end of September. However, the trades unions have so far failed to provide the necessary robust response to these attacks.
The strength of the trade unions depends on their collective action. However, good the trade union leaders are, their power resides in our mass support. We need to organise a rank and file trade union movement to organise this power. We need to support the leaders who lead robust strike action and criticise those who fail to respond adequately to the employer’s (government and private sector) attacks.
We also need to improve the quality of democracy in the trade unions. To be effective we need greater bottom up democracy. As much as possible, decisions should be taken by mass meetings or committees. We cannot afford to leave key decisions to be taken by our leaders. This makes it too easy for them to succumb to pressure or be settled or perceived to be settled.
We need to build and organise a rank and file movement across the labour movement in Nigeria. This is necessary to ensure that all the trade unions and their branches are as effective and democratic as possible.
The movement has to be led by individual trade union members in their individual capacity even where they are local or national officers of a trade unions. We need comrades in each state and in each trade union to build and lead the movement. Please contact us if you are able to help.
Together we can win the following demands, we are many they are few:
• A decent minimum wage for all with annual increments!
• Reversal of all hikes in tertiary level tuition fees!
• Reversal of recent fuel price increases back to the last regulated price!
• Payment of arrears of salary and pensions in relevant states!
• End, of “no work – no pay”; pay the ASUU strikers & others from last year!