The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) fully supports the resolve of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Plateau State Council, to embark on an industrial strike to press home their demand as regards the implementation of the 15 per cent consolidated salary increase.
As a step towards a speedy resolution of the said crisis, on November 18, 2007; an agreement was jointly signed by the Plateau State government and the NLC on whose terms, the NLC had to suspend a pending industrial action.
While it was hoped that the agreement signed by the Plateau State government and the NLC will be used to reopen negotiations on the 15 per cent salary increase and other related matters, government officials that were saddled with the said task have postponed talks on several occasions and had time to be busy at a retreat in Bauchi, barely 2 months into the agreement.
The CDWR views the Plateau State government’s resolve to dishonor its earlier promise to hold talks with the workers union as a calculated attempt to rubbish the good intentions of the union. With this singular act, the State government had further shown its insensitivity to the plight of workers in Plateau State.
The CDWR totally condemns in strong terms the insensitivity of the plateau State government towards the plight of civil servants in the state whose welfare has been undermined over the years by government’s neo-liberal policies; poor economy; hyper inflation; lack of basic infrastructure etc., that had been the bane of the nation.
While issues bothering on festivities, retreats and other mundane things are attended to by the Plateau State government, issues bothering on the welfare of workers without whom social, political and economic services will grind to a halt, are being treated with levity. This informs why on five different occasions, talks had to be postponed because representatives of the State government had failed to turn up for discussions with the NLC.
Since it is the inalienable right of workers to embark on industrial action to press home their demands, government must at all time respect such rights. As a first step towards the resolution of the said crisis, government officials must dialogue with the NLC. As such, government should desist from the use of threat and intimidation and call its forces of coercion to order.
If this first step fails, the NLC and its allies should call a nation wide strike to compel government to meet its demands.