RESEARCH INSTITUTES WORKERS' BEGIN STRIKE
By TONY EDIKE
ENUGU-WORKERS of research institutes and allied institutions in the South East have declared their support for the nationwide strike scheduled to commence today.
The action was unanimously endorsed by the four trade unions in the sector.
They include Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions, ASURI, Academic Staff Union of Colleges of Agriculture, ASUCA, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, and Senior Staff Union of Research, Development and Associated Institutions of Nigeria, SSURDAIN.
In a statement by the Deputy National President of NASU, (Research and Projects Trade Group), Tijani Wakili, Henry Amadi, and Frank Ejike said they were embarking on strike because Federal Government had failed to implement most issues contained in the 2011 agreement with the workers.
Some of the agreements include payment of the arrears of the 53.37% salary increase (July 2009 to June 2010), failure of government to pay the Research and Allied Institutions Allowances due to them, retirement age of 65 years and 70 years for the staff of the sector, adequate funding of Research and Allied Institutions and the establishment of National Research and Technology Development Fund, NRTDF.
According to the labour leaders, other issues capable of causing serious industrial disharmony in research institutes and their allied Institutions, which deserve government's attention, include retrogressive circular on Non-skipping of Salary Grade Levels from the Head of Civil Service of The Federation, contrary to the approved conditions of service for Research Institutions and their Colleges and Allied Institutions and appointment of Executive Directors, Directors General and provosts from outside the research and allied institutions system.
The union had on October 17, 2011, issued the government a 14-day ultimatum to implement the agreement before embarking on a 7-day warning strike Monday October 31, even as President Goodluck Jonathan had appointed the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Nwogu, to negotiate with the aggrieved workers on behalf of the government.
Organizations where activities would be paralyzed on account of the indefinite strike in the South East are Scientific Equipment Development Institute, Akwuke, Enugu State; Projects Development Institute, PRODA, Enugu; Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu, Ebonyi State; National Roots Crops Research Institute, NRCRI, Umudike, Abia State; Electronic and Electrical Development Institute ELDI, Awka, and Metallurgical Training Institute, Onitsha.
Others include African Regional Aquaculture Centre, Port Harcourt, and National Engineering Design Development Institute, NEDI, Nnewi, Anambra State.