MSA Supports Labour Unions’ Strike Action and Calls for a Mass-Based Working People’s Party to Renationalize Key Sectors and End Exploitation

The Movement for a Socialist Alternative (MSA) commends the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and Nigerian workers for their remarkable unity and commitment to the strike action on day one. This collective effort is a powerful response to the federal government’s unserious attitude towards the minimum wage negotiations.

The NLC and TUC leadership’s call for a strike to reject the federal government’s initial offer of N47,000, and the subsequent increase to N60,000 ($40), has been met with solidarity by workers across the nation. The trade unions have proposed a more reasonable figure of N494,000 ($329) for the monthly minimum wage. This figure is based on a detailed breakdown of expected monthly expenses necessary for a decent standard of living.

While the MSA had initially called for a 48-hour warning strike, considering that labour leaders would return to the negotiating table, we fully support this ongoing action. We urge workers and the general public to continue backing the strike for a new minimum wage and the reversal of the electricity tariff increase.

The strike action clearly demonstrates that only through the consistent struggle of the organized working class against the ruling class can the working masses hope to improve their living conditions. As we have seen with the Tinubu regime, and others before it, the ruling class will only continue to serve the interests of private profiteers, both nationally and internationally.

The MSA applauds the trade union leaders so far on the proposal which reflects a comprehensive assessment of the basic needs and economic realities faced by Nigerian workers, ensuring they can afford essential goods and services, and urges them to have recourse back to workers for whatever new figure is offered. They should also continue to insist that the Tinubu regime offer a detailed explanation as to how a worker can live on its offer of N60,000 or any wage it puts forward.

The MSA doesn’t think that there is any arm of government that is neutral and can thereby play the role of an intermediary between workers and the government, as the National Assembly has attempted. The same National Assembly members refuse to put forth legislation that will see them, as public officers, earning the country’s minimum wage. A senator currently goes home with over 29 million naira a month in wages and allowances. Governors have monthly security budgets that secure nothing other than their private disposition of diverting public funds.

The Tinubu regime has brought this upon itself with its adherence to the dictates of IMF/World Bank neoliberal capitalist policies. Fuel prices have been moved from N167 to N650, the currency devalued from N750 to N1,500 per dollar, and electricity rates increased from N66 to N206. None of these changes were ever characterized as threatening the economy or the existence of the working masses. Yet, the ruling class and capitalist bosses have reaped trillions from these policies. The government, based on these policies, has enriched the top echelons of the ruling class. However, workers’ humble request for an increase in wages to match these increases is labelled as unhealthy for the economy, unreasonable, and unaffordable.

We in the Movement for Socialist Alternative insist that Nigeria can afford a living wage for all workers. The country’s vast wealth, if managed to meet the needs of all, can adequately cater to workers and provide social support for the unemployed. However, we must not create the illusion that the country’s crises will simply disappear with a living wage. Capitalism is structured to reclaim whatever it gives to workers. Therefore, the struggle for a living wage and improved living conditions must be linked to the broader fight against the domination of the country’s wealth and resources by capitalism and imperialism, as represented by the US, Europe, and China.

To achieve this, workers must reclaim and build the Labour Party to represent the working masses, founded on a socialist program. This party should aim to seek political power and implement policies that prioritise the well-being of the people. Such a party would focus on the renationalisation of the privatised sector of the economy and creating an economy that serves the needs of all citizens rather than the interests of a few. By uniting under a common cause and advocating for these pro-people policies, workers can create a political force capable of transforming society and breaking free from the exploitation and inequality perpetuated by the current capitalist system.


Aj. Dagga Tolar

General Secretary MSA

June 4, 2024.