We need mass action to end poverty, inequality and corruption. The rich are massively richer than in 1999, but the poor are also extremely poorer. The GDP is three times the level of 1998, but the minimum wage is half, in real terms, the level of 1998, even at N30k per month, and many states have yet to implement even that. We particularly need mass action to stop the ruling class across board at
federal, state and local government levels from further imposing even more hardships on us, just so that they can continue to accumulate more wealth at our expense. Sudan, Algeria and Mali show that mass action brings change. We need a return to the *January 2012 Uprising* and to build confidence that another world is possible. International experience also demonstrates that we need organisation and United Action to mobilise on the scale large enough to bring about change.
The challenge is how to encourage the trade union leaders in particular, and the organisations of the working people in general, to take the necessary action. Action cannot be just switched on and off like a tap, it needs concerted and consistent effort over time. The increases in electricity and fuel prices with the failure to implement the N30,000 minimum wage in many states mean that governments want to increase poverty, while at the same time guaranteeing more wealth for the ruling class.
Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of tax [in particular of the rich and idle income] in the world - we need governments to tax the rich more to pay for a decent minimum wage, free basic electricity (as in South Africa) and free basic health and education. We need protest meetings organised by ASCAB in as many states as possible, and active ASCAB engagement nationally to move from the day of action originally called by the TUC on 23rd September to three days, and then a general strike, accompanied by mass protests which is now planned from Monday 28th by both NLC and TUC. We need the unity of trade unions, civil society organisations, citizens’ organisations around basic demands including at least the removal of price increases for fuel and electricity; implementation of the minimum wage in all states, and full implementation for previous agreements in the universities, the health sector, and in the other sectors where as with education and health, workers are already in trade disputes with the government and their employers.
We need ASCAB to organise meetings/press conferences, awareness raising rallies and public engagements over the next week, especially on Wednesday 23rd September, in as many states as possible in support of the NLC-TUC strike from Monday, 28th September and in solidarity with ASUU, health sector unions and with workers and unions in states fighting for full implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage.
ISSUED BY: SOCIALIST LABOUR 21/9/2020