ENUGU — THE Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, JPSNC, Enugu State council has commemorated with nostalgia, the massacre of coal miners who were demonstrating for better working conditions in Enugu about 66 years ago on November 18,1949.
The coal miners were massacred at Iva-valley by the colonial masters, marking the first of its kind in the country then. The demonstrators including markets women, who were pushing for better working conditions under the British colonialists when hundreds of them were killed in cold blood by armed security men acting on the orders of the colonial masters.
The day, marked annually was to remember the sacrifices of past labour leaders and other nationalists who sacrificed their lives to get independence for the country. It also helps to remind present labour leaders on the need to continue to agitate for improved welfare and conditions of service for workers in the state.
Chairman of the JPSNC, Igbokwe Chukwuma Igbokwe and Secretary, Theo Obasiani paid glowing tributes to the martyrs who paid the supreme price for demanding for living wage to ameliorate their economic hardship under slave labour in the mines.
According to the labour leaders, “the council calls on trade unions to close ranks and to pursue the interest of workers with vigour without compromise and to emulate the heroes of the struggle. They must also, defend Nigeria’s democracy with all their might as there is no alternative to democracy.
“The council noted that the conditions that gave rise to the agitation of coal miners 66 years ago have not abated as man’s inhumanity to man, injustice and exploitation are still in practice and slave wages have not been abolished even with the coal industry abandoned.
“Council calls for revitalization of the coal industry and opening of the mines to generate income and employment to the people of Enugu State.”