Blame FG for persistent Strike Actions by Union – NASU

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The Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI) have opined that the persistent industrial actions in the country are largely due to the non-implementation of agreements by the government.

The General Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, stated this to newsmen on Sunday, in Abuja, saying that the non-implementation of agreements reached with unions in research institutions 10 years ago with government officials to fulfill the terms of agreements.

According to him, “We have had to contend with the problem of government and employers of labour in our country abdicating their responsibility and refusing to honour signed agreements.”

Adeyemi blamed the number of industrial crises that had occurred in Nigeria as a result of the refusal of the Federal Government to faithfully implement agreements that they freely entered into with the unions.

He observed that it is becoming problematic because every day, the government signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Memorandum of Agreements (MoA).

The General Secretary of NASU explained that it seems, to a large extent, that such actions are nothing but a fire brigade approach on the part of the Federal Government to get striking workers back to work.

He said that the government sign these MoUs and MoAs knowing fully well that they are not going to do anything to address the grievances of the unions, alleging that the Federal Government does not even know the number of MoUs and MoAs they have signed in recent times.

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He insisted that the implication of the path the government has adopted would only lead to many more strikes, saying that the unions would be legitimately right for prosecuting a strike.

He lamented that the moment they (unions) obtained these agreements, they go back to their members in good faith and the strike is suspended, lamenting that many months after that, nothing happens and a new set of agitations will then begin.

Adeyemi explained that the insertion of timelines in agreements was meant to ensure adherence to an implementation timetable, however, regretted that this had not also helped the situation.

Incidentally, he noted that even when timelines are attached to these agreements, it does not serve as a motivation to do anything, adding that they have had agreements where timelines of six weeks were agreed upon.

The General Secretary of NASU noted that but nothing happen after six months and even six years, showing clearly that the Federal Government willingly enters into agreements knowing fully well it is not committed to doing anything.

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Also, the President of SSAUTHRIAI, Mr Akintola Benjamin, while reacting to the issue, explained that the Federal Government had shown a lackadaisical attitude to respecting signed agreements.

He said the issues in contention included the withdrawal of circular on non-skipping of salary grade level 10.

He added that although the unions in the research sub-sector secured a judgment for the implementation of the non-skipping, the Federal Government was yet to implement the policy service-wide, but implemented it only in a few ministries.

He observed, “We are saying that the judgment should be implemented service-wide so that it will cut across the entire 14 ministries where research institutes are.”

Mr Akintola Benjamin lamented that the non-implementation of the retirement age of 65 years, as applicable in the Nigerian universities, in the research institutions, was another issue.

In the universities, he noted that the retirement age is 65 years for both academic and non-academic staff, stressing that the scheme that the research institutes run is the same as that of the universities while the Colleges of Education and Polytechnics are enjoying the 65 years retirement age.

He said that they are asking that both research and non-research staffers should also enjoy 65 years of retirement age, saying that the academic staff in research institutes are already enjoying this.

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Mr Akintola Benjamin noted that they are saying it should be extended to all the staff, in order to stem migration from research institutes to other sub-sectors.

He said there is the need for the establishment of a regulatory body to be known as the National Research Institutes’ Commission (NARICOM) as we have National Universities Commission (NUC) for the universities and National Commission for Colleges of Education and others.

He added that they are agitating for inadequate funding of research instituted and are also demanding that research should enjoy specialised funding in order to encourage research activities. We are also seeking a review of our conditions of service.

He noted that they have worked on it and submitted it to the Federal Government, but it has not taken any action on it, adding that the one they released to them was manipulated so they rejected it and are now calling on the government to release the agreed version to us.

Akintola stated that the recent 15-day ultimatum, which was issued based on the same demands made on Sept.10, is due to expire on September 27, and the Federal Government is yet to respond to it.


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Chila Andrew Aondofa

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