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NASU decries workers’ plight at research institutes

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The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions has bemoaned the delay in granting approval for the release of the conditions and scheme of service for the federal research and development institutes in the country.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the regular meeting of the Research and Projects Trade Union Group Council of NASU that took place at the Centre for Management Development in Lagos, the council said government is yet to approve the necessary documents needed for the approval, which had been submitted to it since 2013 on the matter.

The communiqué, which was signed by the Deputy President/Chairman, Wakili Tijani and Senior deputy General Secretary of the Council, Emma Okonkwor, added that the delay by government in granting approval for the release of the documents has made it impossible for the implementation of the 65 years retirement age for staff of the Research and Allied Institutions and other welfare matters.

Council noted that while their counterparts in the Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education have had their retirement age reviewed upward from 60 years to 65 years by government, that of the staff of Research and Allied Institutions sector has remained 60 years.

The union berated the Federal Executive Council (FEC) decision to activate the sleeping section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, “no work, no pay” has emboldened government agencies to trample upon the right of workers to withdraw their service whenever their rights are infringed upon.

It also restated its call for adequate funding of research and development institution for them to play active role in the technological advancement of the country.

“Conscious of the fact that the Research and Development Institutions/ Federal Colleges of Agriculture play prominent role in the development of the nation, the Council-in-Session urged the present administration to implement the portion of the agreement government had with the unions on the need to increase the annual budgetary allocations to the sector in line with the recommendations of UNESCO and approve a Special Intervention Fund for a period of three years on a 50:30:20 ratio annually like it did for the Universities as well as create a Special Fund to be called National Research and Technology Development Fund (NRTDF),” it added.

The union urged the federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to call for conciliatory meeting between it and Agriculture by the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Abuja over the stoppage of payment of allowances to workers in research institutes.

It hinted that its letter with reference NASU/R/287/128 dated 17th June, 2016 to the Minister of Labour and Employment, calling for the resolution of the matter or refer it to Industrial Arbitration Panel has not been attended to.

NASU regretted that the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria has been allowed by government to carry out a responsibility that is exclusively reserved for the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC).

The Council-in-Session also expressed dismay with the non-implementation of the agreement between the Federal Government and the Unions in the Research and Allied Institutions sector dated January, 2011.


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