• Mobilise for all-rounded working-class fightback commencing with a 48-hour nationwide general strike

We of the Movement for A Socialist Alternative (MSA) supports the ongoing five-day warning strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in opposition to the mass sack of workers in Kaduna state, which commenced on Monday, 17th May 2021.

We welcome the strike action as a correct working-class response to the barrage of attacks by the El-Rufai-led Kaduna State Government. The Kaduna government is notorious for the mass sacking of workers and non-payment of workers’ wages, while also increasing school fees in Kaduna state-owned tertiary institutions to unbearable levels. We oppose this cruel treatment of the working class and common people’s families, especially at a time the Covid-19, fuel price increases and staggering inflation have brought workers to the verge of economic ruin.

The decision by the NLC national leadership to bring to bear the weight of the labour centre on the strike is excellent. It is important to recognise that Kaduna’s El Rufai represents a threat to workers’ interests beyond Kaduna; he is one of the Governors who are seeking more powers to cut jobs, wages and cheat the poor people of their states. This sort of threat requires a nationally coordinated action.

As the crisis of capitalism deepens locally and internationally, more Governors will resort to the tactics employed by the El-Rufai-led regime. We have seen the reversal of minimum wage in Kano and Ekiti States, for instance. We have also seen attacks on labour rights in Imo State.
This is why we call on the leadership of the NLC to declare a day of general strike across all states of the federation. The threat of hiding behind ‘restructuring’ or ‘dwindling revenue’ to impoverish more people while political office-holders live large on state coffers must be stopped in its track.

We are not surprised by the attempt of the El-Rufai led government to drive a wedge between workers and Kaduna residents, but working-class leadership must counter this by taking their message to the wider population. The government has constantly declared the workers as ‘few’ in an attempt to justify its neoliberal agenda and to appear as a government committed to the ‘majority’. No one should be deceived by this populist explanation of an agenda that will further impoverish the poor people of Kaduna.

The ravaging insecurity in Kaduna, a product of poverty and youth unemployment, proves that the governor has no previously serious commitment to the majority of Kaduna people ravaged by insecurity, low life expectancy and rank poverty. In fact, it is the workers that sustain and patronise the traders and artisans in Nigeria’s informal sector, not the elites. Depriving the workers the power to buy will mean depriving the teeming Informal Sector the power to sell. The only logic behind El-Rufai’s policy is therefore to deepen poverty.

We fully support the NLC action and call for further organised escalation of the strike to a nationwide general strike over issues of job cuts or wage cuts that are not limited to Kaduna. The Kaduna NLC should also organise frequent Congresses to review the strike on daily basis, sensitise and continuously assure workers amidst the several lies and blackmails of the government.

We also call on the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to shake off its present indifference and join the strike action in Kaduna, as not to become a divisive tool in the hand of an anti-worker government.

The time to act is now!

Aj. Dagga Tolar