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NIMR, workers bicker over 2012 pay arrears




THE face-off between workers and management of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) got worse yesterday as the parties bickered over unpaid promotion arrears since 2012.

While the workers on the platform of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) insisted that management had collected the money from the Budget Office in Abuja, the management argued on the contrary.

NIMR Director General, Prof. Innocent Ujah, who refuted some of the NASU allegations, told the media yesterday in Lagos that the institute was yet to receive the 2012 and 2013 promotion arrears.

According to him, “the institute, like all other ministries, departments and agencies, submitted its request for the arrears for the promotion exercise conducted in 2012 and 2013 to the Budget Office, Abuja. “Up till this moment, we have not received any financial allocation to that effect despite our repeated visits to the Budget Office.

Again, the fact that no fund has been received to pay these arrears can be verified from the Budget Office.” NASU had gone on a three-day warning strike from Monday to Wednesday this week to, among others, demand the payment of the arrears, while threatening an indefinite strike if the arrears and other demands were not met by the institute.

The branch NASU Chairman, Eghosa Ehikhametalo, told The Guardian yesterday that members lost patience, having discovered that the bulk money due for their promotion arrears had been diverted to other purposes.

Likewise, the branch secretary, Muinah Fowora, said there was no iota of truth in management’s claims, adding that the union reliably gathered that the NIMR management had collected the money.

She told The Guardian that Ujah was using paucity of funds as excuse to delay promotions due in 2014, while those already promoted in 2012 and 2013 were yet to receive their promotion arrears.

According to her, “those promoted in 2012 are owed up to 18 months promotion arrears. “We have heard two contradictory explanations from the management on what happened to our arrears.

One was that there was some money left in 2013 from the annual subvention, and that instead of returning the money to the Federal Government they decided to pay us the balance of three months and seven days.

The second explanation was that the money sent from the Federal Government was only enough to pay for three months and seven days. As it is, NIMR is the only government institution that is talking about shortfall. We have it on good authority that the money came to NIMR.”

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