Research institutes begin indefinite strike over govt’s alleged refusal to honour 10-year pact
Citing Federal Government’s alleged failure to implement the 10-year agreement reached with relevant unions since 2010, research institutes across the federation, yesterday, embarked on an indefinite strike.
The Joint Research and Allied Institutions Sector Unions (JORAISU), including the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI) and the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI), vowed not to return to work until the government yields to its demands.
In Lagos, the unions, which began their protest at the Bar Beach area, shut down Victoria Island, brandishing placards and chanting solidarity songs.
They said the 30-day ultimatum was spurned by the government, prompting the industrial action.
Labour’s demands include payment of 12-month Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS) arrears of 53.37 per cent increase, withdrawal of circular on non-skipping of salary Grade Level 10 (NICN judgment in favour of trade unions and others), retirement age of 65 years for non-research staff as obtainable in the universities and others, as well as peculiar and earned allowances, adequate funding of research institutes and release of scheme/conditions of service, among others.
In his address, Lagos State Council Chairman of NASU, Oladejo Olawole, said the strike was long over due.
He urged the government to take research serious due to its importance to the economy.
Also, Chairman, SSAUTHRIAI, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), Godwin Asikhia, observed that the unions were left with no option in the face of the government’s flagrant disregard for them.
“We are appealing to the government to meet our demands because we are not ready to sit at home. We want to work so that this country will develop technologically and infrastructure-wise,” he added.
The Public Relations Officer of ASURI, Dr. Priscilla Etokpah, pleaded with the government to urgently address their needs.
She said JORAISU has been on the matter for years, adding: “It is high time government answered us.”
Similarly, Chairperson of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), Florence Ogunleye, stated: “The Federal Government should take research serious. Any country that does not fund research would not forward. Nigeria can only move forward if it prioritises research institutes and obliges our requests.”