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Poly Ibadan Strike: SPN Charges Gov Makinde to Accede to Workers’ Demands; Tasks NLC, TUC to Back Striking Workers

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Oyo State Chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has expressed its support to the ongoing indefinite strike declared on Monday, 11th January, 2021 by workers of The Polytechnic, Ibadan.

The Pacesetter News reported that the strike is in connection with the continued failure of the Engr Seyi Makinde-led Oyo State government to commence the full implementation of the new minimum wage of N30, 000 for workers in the institution, more than a year after it was signed into law by the Buhari-led federal government Another issue involved in the strike is the overreaching and unlawful activities of the Platinum consulting firm imposed on the state-owned tertiary institutions by the state government.

In a statement signed by its State Publicity Secretary – Com. Ayodeji Adigun, SPN lauded the demands of the striking workers, which are the immediate commencement of the implementation of the new minimum wage of N30, 000 for mass of the workers in the institution and proscription of the activities of the consultant which is a negation of the edict and law setting up the institution. The pary called Oyo State government to immediately accede to the genuine demands of workers unions of the institution in order to prevent avoidable industrial unrest.

The statement read in parts:

“The attention of the SPN has been drawn to the statement credited to the state Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, Barrister Olasunkanmi Olaleye while responding to the decision of the workers in the polytechnic to embark on the said strike. According to the media report, the Commissioner condemned the strike with a false claim that “it is not justifiable”. We consider this as weak as the commissioner’s argument that workers in polytechnic of Ibadan alone cannot disagree among other tertiary institutions in the state with the template the state government is considering to adopt for the implementation of the new minimum wage for the tertiary institutions in the state”.

“SPN rejects the statements credited to the Commissioner and holds that the continuous failure of the Oyo State government to implement the new minimum wage over a year it was signed into law while continue to peddle falsehood in the media that it has fully commence the implementation of the new minimum wage for all categories of civil servants in the state is enough justification for the strike embarked upon by the polytechnic workers. More so that the statement credited to the Commissioner, clearly showed that the state government is still at a stage of contemplation over when it hopes to sign a concrete agreement as to the template to be adopted for the implementation of the new minimum wage for workers in all the tertiary institutions in the state”.

“Furthermore, the part of the commissioner’s statement that claimed that “only the polytechnic Ibadan disagreed with the template the state government is considering to adopt for the implementation of the new minimum wage “is an attempt to blackmail workers in the Polytechnic, Ibadan, as the black sheep among others. This can be a basis to launch repression on the workers. Already, the information at our disposal is that officers of operations burst had been deployed to both the North and South campus of the polytechnic of Ibadan, in the early hour of today, Tuesday, 12th January 2021 by the Oyo State Government to intimidate and possibly repress the ongoing strike”.

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“SPN decries this kind of repressive response from the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government that often claim to be people-friendly government, therefore demands an immediate withdrawal of the men of Operation Burst so as to avert unnecessary complications and escalation of the issue. The mass of workers in the polytechnic Ibadan have the right to reject any template for the implementation of the new minimum wage, which they consider to be antithetical to their interests and to the spirit of the enacted minimum wage. Obviously, the so-called template being peddled by the state government is not unlikely to be a ploy to rip workers off, under the guise of implementing the new minimum wage. As a matter of fact, the declaration of the ongoing strike obviously suggests that workers at the Polytechnic Ibadan might have noticed that the template itself is a deceit, hence the basis for their rejection!”

“Given this background, SPN calls on the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government to stop all its gimmick to divide and weakened workers’ resolve and accedes to all of their demands without further delay. At the same time, SPN urges the striking workers to remain resolute and undaunted as we strongly believe that all of their demands are achievable only if they can remain determined and steadfast. Mass of the working people in the State particularly the leadership of the two existing labour centre in the State; Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) are equally urged to lend support to these demands of striking polytechnic workers with a view to prevail on Engr Seyi Makinde-led government to accede to their demands without further delay””.

“Beyond this is to note that, the ongoing strike of the polytechnic Ibadan workers have no doubt further showed that the claim of the implementation of the new minimum wage by Engr Seyi Makinde-led government for all categories of civil servants in the State is not only sectional but also deceptive. This has again underscored the SPN standpoint that most of the so-called achievements of Engr Seyi Makinde-led government are largely for the purpose of grandstanding and propaganda!
It is in the light of this SPN reiterates its call on mass of the workers, youths and the poor in the state to stop investing undue hope and illusion in the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government. It is a pro-capitalist government like every of its predecessors in the state as it is already exposing its anti-people character. as it is already exposing its anti-people character”.

“Therefore, only a government formed by workers and poor on the basis of a socialist programme can guarantee the improvement in both the living and working conditions of the workers whether in public and private sector without compromising the interest of other categories of the working people be it students, artisan, traders including unemployed youths who are not necessarily salary earners in the state”.

“By socialism, we mean public ownership of the wealth and the resources of the society under the democratic control and management of the elected representative of the working people. We therefore, call on workers and poor in the state to join us to build SPN towards the enthronement of a socialist government in the state as a step towards a socialist Nigeria and world at large”.

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