29th December, 2021
Open Letter For Trade Union Support For Action Over Fuel & Electricity Price Increases, Deepening Poverty, Corruption And Resulting Insecurity
THE People’s Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-M) is a coalition of individuals and organisations committed to the emergence and building of a mass workers party and the socialist transformation of Nigeria. TPAP-M is deeply concerned about the deteriorating quality of the lives of the mass of people in general and the unacceptable evolving developments with regards to rising energy costs, and the impending unconscionable hikes in fuel price and electricity tariff in particular. These are being proposed by the anti-people regime currently running the Nigerian state on behalf of the failed and ruining ruling class. We are calling for support from trade unions, their state and branch structures and any comrades who will support TPAP-M and its proposals for action.
TPAP-M recognises that a successful fight against the fuel and electricity price rises will be vastly more likely if it includes the active support and involvement of trade unions and trade unionists at every level across the country. Similarly, the fight for a decent minimum wage and the prompt payment of gratuities and pensions for all retired workers needs the active support of the labour and trade union movement. This will only be possible when the trade union movement accepts the need for generalised solidarity for every strike, protest and collective action by sections of the working class. The workers united will never be defeated! Finally, we also believe that a political alternative is needed in 2023 and this will only be possible through active support of trade unions.
For these reasons, we support the following Charter of Demands by Nigerian Workers that was agreed by the NEC of the NLC on Friday, 17th December 2021.
“The Charter of demands by Nigerian Workers which core thrusts include the demands for basic social, economic and political rights that fulfil the ideals of citizenship, improve the lot of the working class and actualize the dream of nationhood. Actualizing the thrusts of the Charter would facilitate the conferring of decency and dignity to the average Nigerian worker and citizen in line with the provisions of Chapter 2 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution:
– Guarantee of quality and affordable healthcare as a fundamental right of every Nigerian and a core justiciable responsibility of the State. Provisions to be made for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage for every Nigerian.
– Free and quality primary-junior secondary education. Well-rounded and affordable public senior secondary and tertiary education. Free technical and vocational training for Nigerian youths desirous for a career in artisanal trade.
– Efficient, responsible and sustainable, extraction, refining, processing and marketing of all of Nigeria’s natural resources in ways that maximizes value chain potentials, enhances technological development and fosters inclusive growth.
– Government should ensure the creation of an enabling environment for the development of a robust local economy, stable Naira, and industrialization for creation of mass jobs.
– Guarantee of the right to life, physical safety and welfare of every Nigerian must be undertaken as the primary responsibility of government must be protected at all times.
– Promotion of effective social protection cover for Nigerian workers and vulnerable segments of the population especially the poorest of the poor, the youth, the disabled, women and other vulnerable groups in our country.
– Evolution of inclusive and transparent electoral system.”
The call by the NLC for a series of rallies on 27th January is welcomed, but will not be sufficient to end the threat of fuel and electricity price increases. For this reason TPAP-M is calling for
support from the trade union and labour movement to help to organise a week of mobilisations and awareness raising at the beginning of January 2022 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Occupy Nigeria – the January Uprising of 2012; and as well to build up momentum towards generalised mass protests across the country to resist the impending hikes in fuel price and electricity tariff, and the unfolding hike if the price of Gas.
It is noteworthy that the very same reasons that impelled Occupy Nigeria a decade ago are once again coming together to impel another January Uprising – incompetent government; ruling class greed and impunity; absence of domestic refining capacity; rising cost of living; increasing joblessness; and intensifying insecurity. For this reason we invite you to join us, participate in, and collaborate with us as we organise a week of mobilisations and preparations for mass resistance across the country between 9th and 15th of January 2022.
This time around, we must meet the challenge more resolutely, but also with greater political determination.
This is why we urge all long suffering, exploited, marginalised, impoverished, and frustrated trade unionists to harken to our call to action. The labour movement needs to take our destinies into our own hands, and build the mass political movement and momentum, to not only resist further hardships and hold the government and ruling class accountable; but to also engage politically, and contest political power with the ruling class and all its factions, with a view to taking, and wielding political power in Nigeria.
We call on trade unions and the wider labour movement to support this call for action. We ask all national trade unions to endorse this statement. Similarly, we want any state or local branch or other bodies of the trade union movement to support this call for action. If your trade union organisation is prepared to endorse this call for action then please send your details to TPAP-M so that we can organise and inform you about future actions. We also welcome endorsements from individual comrades in the labour movement.