STRIKE REPORTS

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ASUU Southeast Still on Strike

On July 22, 2010, the southeast chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) commenced an indefinite strike action as directed by its National Executive Committee (NEC). It is disheartening to note that almost three months later, this strike is yet to be called off; the crux of the matter is yet to be addressed. These Southeast States’ citadels of learning remained shut down due to the hard-line stance of the state governments and their refusal to meet the demands of the striking lecturers.

The universities involved are Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU), Anambra State University, Uli (ANSU), Ebonyi State University , Abakaliki (EBSU), Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT), and Evan Enwerem University, Owerri. The lecturers have vowed to continue with the strike until the state universities in southeast zone implement the ASUU/government agreement of 2009.

Other demands of the striking lecturers are: the implementation of the CONUASS salary scale, payment of all salary arrears and the renovation of these state-owned universities. So far the strike has been comprehensive and total as ASUU has directed that:

• There should be no lecture, no supervision, no examination, no statutory, departmental, faculty committee, Senate or Council meetings, including part-time programmes.

• Seminars, workshops and conferences are to be put on hold.

•Local branches of ASUU should not do any individual negotiating with their state governments.

The spirit of unity within ASUU stands to be commended. The maxim ‘united we stand, divided we fall’ is true for all time, especially when the working class is concerned. It will be recalled that on September 6 2010, armed policemen had disrupted a peaceful demonstration of ASUU with Alsatian dogs. The ASUU members had planned to march to the Government House in Akwa, Enugu State to express their solidarity with their southeast colleagues. Our call to the ASUU members is that they should not be deterred, as ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’. The true colour of the Nigerian ruling class is being exposed more and more by the day.

The governments of the southeast states should realize that the demands of the lecturers are bona fide and should be met with all the urgency the situation demands. The education sector of the country needs to be saved from further decline.

The hypocritical ruling class at all levels must be made to understand that no meaningful development can occur in Nigeria unless there is first a development of human resources. This can only be achieved through the provision of qualitative and functional education for the populace.

…And Lagos Tertiary Institutions Too

In a related development, the various staff unions of all Lagos state-owned Tertiary Institutions of learning have also continued to ‘down tool’. The indefinite strike action of these Lagos state workers have been no less total and comprehensive than their colleagues in the southeast.

The academic and non-academic staff of the four state-owned institutions have embarked upon the strike action due to the failure of the Lagos state government to implement the agreement reached with them. The four higher institutions of learning involved are Lagos State University (LASU), Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), And Micheal Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCOPED).

Among other things, these workers are simply demanding for adequate remuneration, adequate funding of education, better conditions of service and acceptable retirement package. That the strike has been allowed to drag on for this long is not only unfortunate but also eye-opening. It goes to confirm what Workers Alternative posits that no section of the ruling class is better than the other. All of them are more interested in money-wasting ventures like bogus independence celebration, flower-planting, increase in political office-holders’ salary package and so on, than in the welfare of the mass of the Nigerian workers who sweat day in day out to produce the wealth of the nation.

We salute the courage of these tertiary institution workers and we implore them to stay focused and unshaken. Remember, dare to struggle dare to win.

On the other hand, we call on the Fashola-led government to accede to the genuine demands of these workers, to save education in Lagos from further deterioration and to lift Lagos from being a mega-ghetto to a real mega-city. The government should note that failure to do this is an exercise in self-demystification and self-destruction.

Workers Demonstrate Against Casualisation

Workers and labour leaders recently picketed a telecommunication company in Lagos. The company, MULTILINKS TELKOM has been found to engage in casualisation of workers. A graduate, for example, is paid a paltry sum of N12 000 and then fired after three months to be hired again as a casual. The irate workers and labour leaders barricaded and shut down the company until the management acceded to their demands and reached an agreement with them on every issue raised. The company is said to be owned by Indians.

In a similar development, a group of workers also picketed the High Court premises where they have a pending case against another Indian/Lebanese owned company, CELPLAST, in Lagos recently. The case of these workers is particularly pathetic because nearly all of them has had one body part or the other chopped off by machines while working as casuals in the said factory. After being rendered almost useless (due to mangled limbs, missing fingers, etc), the management then went on to fire them without any compensation whatsoever. This then was the basis of the demonstration carried out by these workers.

We salute the courage of these workers and labour leaders. We want them to remember always that though the struggle may seem endless, victory is certain. If we struggle we might win, if we don’t struggle we have already lost. It is now obvious that the government has failed woefully in its task to safeguard the rights of the Nigerian workers. In fact, the Nigerian ruling class has failed on all fronts especially where the interest of the masses is concerned.