July 15, 2011

Re: [laborpartypraxis] Minimum wage and class struggle in Nigeria

Quite happy about Lill Joe sharing perspectives on the on-going class struggle in Nigeria.

Just to add by circulating the leaflet being circulated by the SWL & which is receiving enthusiastic acceptance in the protest marches & demonstrations presently ongoing here.

Vinceremos! We shall win!

Baba Aye
The Chair, SWL

Struggle for new minimum wage; struggle against capitalism!

Once again Nigerian workers march to the barricades to fight against the country’s ruling elites and their state, for a better life. The struggle for the implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage is a struggle for economic reforms that are meant to improve the living standards of workers even if just minimally. Every mass action of workers for the improvement of our lives, particularly general strikes, is a struggle against capitalism.

“Labour creates wealth”, but that wealth is appropriated and enjoyed by the ruling elites who are in government and in big business. There is really no amount of wages that can be equal to the worth of the workers’ toil because the source of the wealth of the “high and mighty” lies in the exploitation of our labour. Even the most “just” wages only make us “wage-slaves”. No matter what the worker earns, he finds out that he barely manages to survive from month to month! We can emancipate ourselves from this slavery only when workers take over the management of our workplaces and society as a whole. This can happen only through revolution from below in which we use our mass power to overthrow the present capitalist system!

We have all seen how revolution is the way forward to bring down anti-people regimes from the recent events in Tunisia & Egypt. These have been political revolutions, in which members of the same ruling class have been the ones taking over state power. But despite this, they now have to give greater respect to the working people. And with the confidence established by the revolution’s first victory, workers in Egypt are still moving forward with their revolution!

Socialist revolution to change the system is not won with a single revolution, or in one country. Like what is presently unfolding in Egypt, there will be several political revolutions in which workers learn the root causes of their oppression and gain the confidence to keep moving forward from regime change to system change.

The struggle for system change is also not limited to the moments when we make revolutions. Mass actions for reforms like that for the new minimum wage which we are embarking on now, help us to learn how fraudulent our exploiters are e.g. with the lies of the governors’ forum that they cannot pay such a meagre amount despite the billions of naira they acquire both legitimately and illegitimately. When we win such economic (and also political) reforms, we also gain more confidence to fight and broaden the democratic space to create and seize opportunities of revolutionary situation.

It is important to note as we fight for the N18,000 minimum wage that capitalism is in a state of crisis globally and Nigeria is not left out. The purchasing power of that money will soon be eroded by inflation and further anti-workers policies the Nigerian state is set on commencing. This is why Socialist Workers League is organising a 1-day Socialist School on: Understanding the Current Situation: Socialist Perspectives for Workers & Youths. Join us on Friday, July 22 at the NLC National Sub-Secretariat Yaba, Committee room from 9.00am. Together we shall struggle! Together we shall win!!

Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

-----Original Message-----

Minimum wage: Reps, Labour talks deadlock
On July 15, 2011 · In News

By Okey Ndiribe
ABUJA — Despite the intervention of the House of Representatives in the dispute between the organised labour and Federal Government over the non-implementation of the minimum wage law, there is no silver lining yet in the horizon over the impending general strike declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

The House had invited the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for dialogue over last Tuesday’s declaration of a general strike to commence Wednesday over the minimum wage dispute.

It was learnt that when the NLC delegation met with the leadership of the House of Representatives yesterday, officials of the National Salaries and Wages Commission and Budget Office of the Presidency who were also present, informed participants at the meeting that the Federal Government could not implement the new minimum wage for all categories in the public sector because the funds were not available.

They also complained that should the new minimum wage be effected, the cost of salaries for workers in the public sector would balloon by N55 billion which was not accommodated in the budget for the current financial year.

A source told Vanguard: “The officials from the Budget office told us that only allocations for workers on salary grades one to six were made in the 2011 appropriation of the Federal Government”

Contacted on the matter the Acting General Secretary of NLC Owei Lakemfa refused to comment but hinted that no progress had been achieved in the negotiation with the Federal Government despite the intervention of the House of Representatives.

It would be recalled that the leadership of the NLC last Tuesday declared a three day nation-wide warning strike to commence next Wednesday to compel both public and private sector employers to implement the new minimum wage law.

The Governors Forum had stirred the hornet’s nest over the vexed issue few weeks ago when it asked the Federal Government to remove the subsidy from premium motor spirit (petrol) so that the states could utilize expected bigger allocations from the federation account to pay their workers the new minimum wage.

The NLC had rejected their demand and pointed out that they never presented that condition during the negotiation for a new minimum wage.

The NLC had further produced documents to indicate that some of the state governments even proposed salaries that were far higher than what the NLC eventually settled for during the tripartite negotiations.

Investigations by Vanguard revealed that states like Abia, Kwara and Kebbi proposed to pay their workers N46,700 and N30,000 respectively while Anambra and Federal Capital Territory offered to pay their workers N25,000 as minimum wage.


LabourPartyPraxis discussion - subscribe