‘Defend workers against wage cuts, job losses’ – SPN tells Labour Unions

The Lagos State Chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has called on the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the United Labour Congress (ULC) to defend workers’ rights.

The party stated this in a press statement on Thursday issued by its Chairman and Secretary, Rufus Olusesan and Monsuru Shoyombo respectively.

It also expressed solidarity with the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) over the struggle against police harassment of its members.

“This is against the background of the indefinite strike action embarked upon by Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Wednesday, 20th May, 2020 which was suspended on Thursday, 21st May, 2020 following concessions won by the association.

“We wish to note that the speed with which the Lagos State government and the Inspector-General of Police intervened to resolve the controversy once the doctors had made clear their readiness to strike is a clear testimony that struggle pays.

“This is in our opinion is a signal to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) to alter its current lukewarm approach of simply issuing statements to appeal to the good sense of government and employers without taking action.

“The SPN noted that if the NMA could achieve what they achieve with a sit-at-home strike, more could be achieved by workers who are presently losing their jobs and having their wages cut if the NLC, TUC, and ULC should declare a 48hour general strike to protest attempts by employers to make workers’ pay for the COVID-19 crisis.

“The SPN hereby calls on the NLC, TUC, and ULC to roll out a plan of action involving practical actions like a general strike to protect workers’ jobs, wages, and safety, all of which are under threat at the moment.

“We also urge the NMA not to rest on their oars because of the concession won. Given the character of the capitalist state as an instrument of coercion, harassment of essential workers and other attacks on their rights will always occur,” the statement read.

According to the opposition party, health workers now need to demand and begin to set up in all hospitals, laboratories, and isolation centres safety enforcement committees whose democratically-elected membership must cut across all departments to begin to enforce safety against infectious diseases.

“At this stage, it is important for all health unions to unite to be able to better defend the rights of their members. SPN urges the NMA and other health unions to utilise this victory as an impetus to fight for crucial measures to protect health workers and allow them to carry out their life-saving duties safely and successfully.

“Some of the demands that still need to be fought for are: provision of adequate PPE, full and adequate insurance, mass testing, N100,000 Monthly Special Allowance, equipping of all hospitals and clinics, recruitment of more health practitioners and provision of free, functional and democratically-managed health care at all levels,” the party said.

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Alfred Olufemi

Alfred writes to correct societal ills. His reports, which have gained national and international recognition, cut across politics, accountability of public officers and human rights. He tweets @iam_alfred1

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