February 10, 2021
CDWR BACKS ONDO DOCTORS’ INDEFINITE STRIKE AGAINST HALF SALARY REGIME AND POOR WORKING CONDITIONS
WE CALL ON THE ONDO GOVERNMENT TO MEET DOCTORS’ DEMANDS AND END HALF SALARY REGIME
The Ondo State doctors are currently on an indefinite strike over half salary regime, unpaid 3 months’ salary and poor working conditions. The doctors are also demanding the appointment of more doctors to replace those that left, implementation of Group Life Insurance, an end to half salary regime and improvement in the working conditions.
Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) backs the Ondo state doctors’ indefinite strike, and we call on the doctors to engage in an active strike action via public protest, rallies and media campaigns for the purpose of engaging the public and sustaining public support.
To the CDWR, half salary regime and poor working conditions are attacks on Nigerian workers and anti-labour policies. The country is presently in the middle of COVID-19 pandemic and yet, healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, etc) who are in the frontline in the fight against the pandemic are treated with disdain. Ondo state ranks 10th in the country of the most affected COVID-19 infections and deaths with 2563 infected cases and 55 deaths. Ondo state government has no justification to subject healthcare workers and workers in general to fractional salaries, rather the government should be paying higher wages to workers by now considering the rising cost of living.
Ondo State Government had earlier reached an agreement with labour leaders to pay Ondo state public sector workers half salary. The Ondo State Labour leaders shamefacedly and sheepishly accepted half salary regime after the Ondo State Head of Service (HOS) Dare Aragbaiye claimed that federal allocation receipts for the month of December 2020 was N2.3 billion after deductions of government obligations whereas total gross salary payable to all categories of workers summed up to N5.21 billion. The government is yet to make public what constitute government obligations and the reasons it has to be prioritized ahead of workers’ salaries. Besides, the government is also yet to inform the public the amount of internally generated revenue on a monthly basis. CDWR demands an independent and transparent probe of Ondo state funds in the last 21 years by elected workers and community people to ascertain how public funds have been utilized.
CDWR does not see what is more obligatory to the government than workers’ salary, retirees’ pension and social spending on education, health care and basic infrastructure. But the government prioritizes payments of dues/interest of a privileged-few in government and the private sector including the bankers and contractors whose contractual arrangements are fraudulent and give room for looting public funds far more than workers welfare. For instance, security votes are guaranteed because it is a cesspool of corruption and cost of executing projects through contract system that is usually and highly inflated is another means of looting public funds. Moreover, jumbo salaries and allowances of political office holders are guaranteed and are never affected in any way but salaries of workers are sacrificed whenever there is a decline in federal allocations. The manner the capitalist government is running the states and the federal government means that workers and masses will always be at the receiving end.
The Ondo State labour leaders who agreed with the government to pay workers half salaries did not carry the rank and file workers along and there was no congress of workers where the issue was discussed and agreed upon. Hence, the action of Ondo State labour leaders is undemocratic and anti-workers. We call on the labour leaders to rescind the half salary agreement and insist that the government pays workers their full salaries and also fully implement the N30,000 minimum wage. We call on Ondo State workers to put pressure on their leaders to convoke a well mobilized Congress as a means of embarking on the path of mass struggle and strike action to reverse the half salary regime and demand also that jumbo salaries of political office holders be reduced to the wage of skilled workers, an end to security votes and an end to the fraudulent contract system as a means of freeing some public funds for investment and payment of salaries and pensions.
Currently, the fast-rising cost of living in the last one year has wiped out the little increase that came with the N30,000 minimum wage as workers in Ondo state workers and workers in general, are in dire need of increased salaries in line with the growing rate of inflation and the rising cost of living.
CDWR demands the following:
· An end to half salary regime and immediate payment of all backlog workers’ salaries.
· An end to jumbo salaries and allowances for all political office holders, and placement of political office holders on the wage structure of skilled civil servants.
· Increase in workers’ salaries to meet the rising cost of living and inflation.
· Adequate funding of healthcare services to guarantee better services.
· An end to security votes.
· An end contract system and adequately funded public works under democratic control by workers and communities.
Comrade Rufus Olusesan Comrade Chinedu Bosah
National Chairperson National Publicity Secretary