NIMR workers suspend industrial action
MEMBERS of staff of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) under the aegis of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) have ended a three-day warning strike with the promise to commence an indefinite strike if the demands are not meant.
NIMR staff members, who gathered under the early morning rains for mild protest on Monday at NIMR office gate, Edmund Crescent, Yaba, had accused the management of deliberately refusing to promote them, even as they accused the Director-General, Prof. Innocent Ujah of nepotism.
Most of the NASU members carried different placards to highlight their grievances. Some of the placards read: “Give us our 2013 shortfall balance; “This is not animal farm;” No man is more equal than others”; 2014, no promotion, this is 2015, again no promotion; Ujah must pay.
NIMR NASU branch Chairperson, Mr Eghosa Ehikhametalo, accused the management of the institute of being insensitive to the demands of the workers, calling on the appropriate authority to intervene in the crisis.
Ehikhametalo said: “We do not know why there is no promotion for 2104. In other parastatals and government agencies, there is nothing like no promotion. There is no embargo on promotion from the Federal Government. We met management in September last year, and they promised us that within the first quarter of 2015, promotion exercise would be carried out. As I speak, there is nothing of such. We are not interested in going on strike, but we have to use what we have. We do not want to remain in slavery. We want to be set free and get what we work for.
“There is no upgrading of members of staff. Those who are on ground are not being upgraded. Yet, people are brought in everyday without due process being adhered to. We say enough of this injustice, enough of nepotism and tribalism.
We are not in animal farm where some people are more equal than others. We are Nigerians, and all of us should have equal rights and treatment. We are saying no to the running of NIMR as a personal business. The management has no regard for public or civil service rules.”
Ehikhametalo added that the institute has stopped paying accident insurance to the union members; a situation which he said is seriously affecting the health of his members.
NASU NIMR Secretary, Mrs. Fowora Nike, added that the management owed the union members allowance called “short-fall balance since 2013”, adding that if their demands were not meant, they would be forced to begin an indefinite strike soon.
All efforts to get a reaction from Ujah failed, as he was said not to be available when The Guardian visited his office. His phone number was not equally reachable.