OGUN STATE GOVERNMENT MUST MEET THEIR DEMANDS NOW!
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) Ogun state chapter expresses its solidarity with the workers of Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE), Omu Ijebu Ogun state, who went on a 3-day warning strike on October 14 to protest over the state government refusal to pay 48 months ’unpaid salary arrears and September salary.
The workers who are from three unions in the institution; Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU),Senior Staff Union of Colleges of Education Nigeria (SSCEN) and Non Academic Staff Union (NASU), marched on major streets of Ijebu Ode township, demanding the immediate payment of their salaries and unpaid arrears.
This warning strike, the workers said, is to serve as prelude to a full-blown indefinite strike, should government refuse to meet their demands. The workers resorted to this warning strike action after the government remained unyielding to several attempts made by them to make it address their plights
We call on the Ogun state government to immediately meet the demands of TASCE and avoid the total shutdown of activities at the college which trains teachers from primary and secondary schools.
We also call on students as well as Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to actively support the TASCE workers in their struggle.
Again, this strike action by TASCE workers has further exposed the lie of the Ibikunle Amosun led All Progressives’ Congress (APC) government in Ogun state on its commitment to public education. It also shows that the APC is not fundamentally different from the PDP as both parties embrace and implement anti-poor capitalist policies not in education but also in all the sectors.
The ERC has repeatedly drawn attention to the ruinous effects of anti-poor capitalist neo-liberal policies is having in primary, secondary and tertiary schools across the state. In fact, in our statement published in the Guardian Newspaper on September 18, 2014 we did observe that these policies have led to attacks on education culminating in high school fees at tertiary institutions across the state (the recent minimal reduction notwithstanding); backlog of unpaid salary arrears to workers; irregular payment of salaries; lack of decent learning and teaching environment; overcrowded classrooms and shortage of teachers in primary and secondary schools; non remittance of pension funds deducted from teachers’ salaries; dilapidated structures; lack of research grants and poor funding amongst others.
We call on workers, students and parents to demand adequate funding of education at all levels in the state. Also importantly, to ensure that the resources are judiciously allocated and spent there must be the demand for democratic control of allocation and spending at school and MDA’s by the elected representatives of workers and students.
However, to bring an end to this perennial crisis caused by the adoption and implementation of the anti-poor programs by all anti-poor parties, the question of working people political alternative becomes imperative. To this end, the ERC supports Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), whose cardinal program is socialist transformation of society, and the campaign for formation of a mass working people party on socialist programme. This is to ensure that public resources are committed to provision of quality education and other basic needs of life like quality health care, decent housing, decent jobs, safe water and regular electricity as well as adequate infrastructure for genuine economic development. We call on Workers, artisans, professionals, market men and women, youths, students and farmers are encouraged to join and build SPN in their various communities.
Eko John Nicholas
ERC Ogun state