The Socialist Party of Nigerian, SPN, has called on the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and other labour organisations in the country to roll out a plan of action to protect workers’ jobs, wages and safety.
The party declared that the jobs of many Nigerians were currently being threatened and that the unions should protect them.
SPN made the call while expressing solidarity with the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, over the struggle against police harassment of its members.
It noted that it was remarkable that the association embarked on an indefinite strike which led to the reversal of the order restricting the movement of health workers and other workers whose jobs are considered to be essential services.
The party said the speed with which the order against the workers was reversed showed the effectiveness of the action taken by the NMA.
“This in our opinion is a signal to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) to alter its current lukewarm approach of simply issuing statements to appeal to the good sense of government and employers without taking actions. If the NMA could achieve what they achieved with a sit-at-home strike, imagine how much can be won by workers who are presently losing their jobs and having their wages cut if the NLC, TUC and ULC should declare just a 48hour general strike to protest attempts by employers to make workers’ pay for the COVID-19 crisis,” the party said.
It added: “We also urge the NMA not to rest on their oars because of the concession won. Given the character of the capitalist state as an instrument of coercion, harassment of essential workers and other attacks on their rights will always occur. Therefore, it is the readiness of workers to fight back that can guarantee their safety. Health workers now need to demand and begin to set up in all hospitals, laboratories and isolation centres safety enforcement committees whose democratically-elected membership must cut across all departments to begin to enforce safety and ensure that health workers are no more sacrificed in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases like Lassa fever.
“At this stage, it is important for all health unions to unite to be able to better defend the rights of their members. SPN urges the NMA and other health unions to utilise this victory as an impetus to fight for crucial measures to protect health workers and allow them to carry out their life-saving duties safely and successfully. Some of the demands that still need to be fought for are: provision of adequate PPE, full and adequate insurance, mass testing, N100,000 Monthly Special Allowance, equipping of all hospitals and clinics, recruitment of more health practitioners and provision of free, functional and democratically-managed health care at all levels.”