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Socialist Labour Nigeria Bulletin N100 June 2023 Edition

D 12 juillet 2023     H 06:00     A Socialist Labour     C 0 messages


Throughout his life, Tinubu has consistently attacked workers and their organisations. His recent statement shows
Tinubu’s attitude to the common people. He said, “No matter how long you protest, we are going to remove subsidy”.
But if we organise properly, with the trade unions and the popular masses, we can defeat his plans. We can stop any more
petrol price increases and we can win a decent minimum wage for all.

The two issues, of petrol subsidy and the minimum wage, are linked. Both of them have a significant impact on the stan- dard of living of all working people. In 1998, when the minimum wage was only N3,000 a month, it could buy nearly 280
litres of petrol. Now the minimum wage may be ten times higher, but it will buy less than 120 litres.
This indicates the extent to which real wages have fallen over the last 25 years. But it doesn’t have to be like this. The
trade unions have regularly demonstrated that, with effective active strike action, they can defeat even the strongest

In May 2021, the Governor of Kaduna, El-Rufai, was brought to his knees in only three days. This involved extensive unity
and solidarity by the member unions of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). The individual members of these trade unions
were actively involved and took part in the daily protests through the streets of Kaduna.

We should also recognise that many politicians take trade union actions seriously. For example, the Governor of the Cen- tral Bank ignored orders from the Supreme Court, but took steps to release the old currency the same day that the NLC
threatened action. The next day the Governor himself came to the office of Joe Ajaero, the president of the NLC.

Too many strikes in recent years have just been “stay at homes”. The workers and the masses have not been actively
involved in building support and solidarity for the strikes. As a result, many of these strikes were isolated and defeated.

The great ASUU strike last year, for example, did not involve
the university lecturers in going out to seek support and sol- idarity from the parents of their students or from the other
trade unions. The NLC promised solidarity action in July
when they organised wonderful protests in all state capitals,
but this further action was never delivered.

We have rich history of strikes and other industrial action
that we can learn from. All our trade union leaders need to
look critically at this history and learn the lessons of what
is needed to achieve victory. All trade union comrades also
need to learn these lessons and encourage their leaders to
take the steps that we know are necessary.

Tinubu is old and weak. He may have achieved his life’s am- bition, but his arrival at Aso Rock comes with a lot of baggage and allegations. These include involvement in illegal drugs,
corruption and widespread settling to ensure his victory in the presidential elections. He may now be President, but only
a minority of Nigerians actually voted for him.
If we organise effectively, we can defeat his plans to increase petrol prices. We can also successfully campaign for a decent
minimum wage with future increases tied to the rate of inflation. These twin victories could begin a major change whereby we take back the wealth and power of from the corrupt elite.