10 Nov 2004
Activities at Federal and states’ courts across the country were paralysed as the judiciary workers, Judiciary Staff Association of Nigeria (JUSAN), embarked on 5-day nationwide warning strike from Monday, November 1, 2004 to Friday, November 5, 2004 with the plan of resuming strike action if the government fails to meet the workers’ demands.
Included in the workers’ demands that will improve their living and working condition the workers are calling for the unified judiciary salary structure which was recommended by the National Judicial Institute, the National Wages and Salaries Commission and the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission; the release of outstanding promotions of judiciary staff; reinstatement of the suspended workers of the Abia State Judiciary; and the immediate constitution of long-awaiting Judiciary Pensions Boards.
Despite the lack of preparation and mobilisation of the workers by the leadership of the union, the workers massively and fully supported and participated in the struggle. Many of the Judges and Lawyers that came to courts turned back when they met the gates of the courts locked with keys.
In order for the strike actions to be successful, the leadership of the union needs to discuss how they are going to improve the involvement of the rank and file of the workforce. Rallies and protests should be organised to guarantee that workers are on top of the current developments and are involved in preparing the next steps for the battle ahead. Beyond their immediate demands, there is also an urgent and great need to have a holistic approach to the crisis affecting the working people with a view to put an end to these unending sufferings, poverty and misery.
The workers should note that if at all they win any of their demands through their persistent struggles, it would require as much, if not a greater battle to keep these gains. As long as this self-centred and profit driven capitalist system remains, whatever is given to the workers with one hand would be taken back off them with the other hand. Workers should know therefore that more attacks from both their employers and the ruling class are inevitable. What is required is a concerted effort by the mass of the working people, collectively struggling for minimal gains side by side with the perspective to dislodge the capitalist government, and put in place a workers’ and poor farmers’ government. This is the only permanent antidote against the unending circle of crisis for the working masses.