THE Peoples Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-M) on Monday called on the Nigerian working class to back striking workers in Cross River State and their counterparts in Research Institutes across the country.
TPAP-M said both strikes are indicative of “the complete failure of governments to implement agreements made with trade unions and to pay their workers and pensioners as and when due”
According to a statement signed by Comrade Prof [Emeritus] Omotoye Olorode and Comrade Jaye Gaskia, both of TPAP-M Secretariat; in each of the strikes, “the governments demonstrate abject impunity to their own rules, regulations and formally signed agreements. We need a change of approach. We need governments that respect the rule of law and demonstrate respect for their citizens.”
While calling on the federal and Cross River State governments to immediately accede to the just demands of the workers and make arrangements to settle their obligations just as it call on the striking workers to remain steadfast and united until their demands are complied with, TPAP-M also enjoined its supporters, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) at the national level “to continue to provide support for these disputes and to offer the necessary solidarity action if the governments refuse to settle in the very near future.”
It equally called “for a united action by the various trade unions in the health and education sectors to achieve their just demands and ensure proper funding of these vital sectors.”
The statement captioned; “Solidarity with Strikes by Public Sector Workers in Cross-River State and Research Institutes,” reads in full:
“The Peoples Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-M) calls for solidarity and support for two important public sectors strikes. On Tuesday, 12th October, the public sector workers of Cross River State started an indefinite strike led by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC). The next day workers of nearly 70 research institutes united in the Joint Research and Allied Institutions Sector Unions (JORAISU) started their own indefinite strike over the Government’s failure to implement its agreement of December 2010.
“Both of these strikes demonstrate the complete failure of governments to implement agreements made with trade unions and to pay their workers and pensioners as and when due. In each case the governments demonstrate abject impunity to their own rules, regulations and formally signed agreements. We need a change of approach. We need governments that respect the rule of law and demonstrate respect for their citizens.
“Cross River State Government, as is the case with most states, has more money than it really knows what to do with. Its revenue has increased by around 60% over the last four years. As a result, it is planning to dedicate almost three quarters of its budget for this year to capital projects. This is compared with less than a fifth of the budget allocated to pay the salaries of its workers and the pensions of its former staff.
“In the first six months of this year, according to the state’s own quarterly budget performance report, Cross River State Government collected over 80% of its expected revenue, but spent not much more than half of its personnel budget for the period. The State is grossly over spending on capital and refusing to pay its workers as agreed – we need nurses as well as new health centres; teachers as well as new schools.
“In this situation, it is no wonder that the workers of the state and its local governments have had enough. The state has failed to fully implement the N30,000 minimum wage, failed to action due promotions or annual increments and failed to pay its pensioners as required. In addition, teachers have suffered from loss of tax exemptions and allowances. The state has also illegally not remitted deductions from workers’ salaries. In a related issue, nearly four hundred interns at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital have not been paid their allowances for the last 11 months. Over 20% of the interns are now homeless due to inability to pay their rents.
“The Peoples Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-M) offers its full support to the working peoples of Cross River State at both state and local government levels. We applaud the joint leadership of the NLC and the TUC in leading this strike and call for the action to be continued until justice and full victory is achieved. We condemn the inhumane and unjust actions of the State Government.
“The workers of nearly 70 vital research and allied institutes started their own indefinite strike on Wednesday, 13th October. They have waited over a decade for the implementation of the agreement signed with the Federal Government in December 2010. Over this time, the national leadership of JORAISU has held thirty-three meetings with the Federal Government and issued 15 threats of strike action – all to no avail. The Government did not even respond to the last two notices of strike action.
“The particular demands of the staff of the research institutes include, the non-payment of 12 months of CONRAISS arrears amounting to over 50% of their salaries and other allowances; retirement at 65 years for non-research staff; release of a scheme or conditions of service; and proper funding of all the research institutes.
“No country can expect to develop if it does not properly fund its research institutes. In addition, it is essential that the staff of these institutes are well motivated and properly paid. The Federal Government is paying lip service to its development plans by failing to adequately fund these institutes. TPAP-M calls on the Government to fully fund its agreements to this sector and put in place arrangements for future appropriate funding arrangements.
“In addition, TPAP-M calls on the Federal Government to implement the agreement it made with the lecturers of ASUU last December to avoid another closure of the universities sector.
“Similarly, TPAP-M calls for the implementation of the revised salary scale for the health workers of JOHESU that has been lingering since early 2014.
“The Peoples Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-M) provides its full support to the workers of Cross River State and the various research institutes across the country. We demand that the governments immediately agree to the just demands of the workers and make arrangements to settle their obligations. We call on the striking workers to remain steadfast and united until your just demands are complied with.
“TPAP-M also calls on its supporters to provide the necessary solidarity for the workers involved. We also call on the NLC and TUC at the national level to continue to provide support for these disputes and to offer the necessary solidarity action if the governments refuse to settle in the very near future.
“We also call for united action by the various trade unions in the health and education sectors to achieve their just demands and ensure proper funding of these vital sectors.”