The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) has vowed that it would not suspend the on-going strike action until the N9billion arrears owed the workers is settled by the federal government. The ongoing strike action in the research and development institutions across the country has led to a shutdown of the sector for over a month.
The general secretary of the union, Peters Adeyemi, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday, said the union is considering staging a protest at the National Assembly to pressure the federal government to meet their demands. Adeyemi blamed the current strike action in research institutes on the non-implementation of the 2010 agreement by the federal government. He said:
“The non-implementation of the agreement we reached with the federal government in 2010 is the reason we decided to go into this action. It has gotten to a stage where we have to take our collective destinies in our own hands. It is unfortunate that we are in a country where the government is paying lip service to research and development. Developed economies of the world focus more on research for economic breakthroughs because there is no country that can develop without research. Therefore, our research institutes will be shut down until our demands are fully met.”
The NASU scribe stated that the minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe has acknowledged that the protesting workers indeed have a genuine case.
“The federal government has acknowledged that we have a legitimate case and that it is government that is not doing what it ought to do. The minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Audu Ogbe confirmed to us at a meeting we held with him on the 7th December 2017 that the demands of the Joint Action Committee of Research Institutes are legitimate and that he and his team are going to raise an appropriate request for the needed resources to be made available for our members to be paid the 12 months arrears that have been outstanding since 2010. It was also agreed at that meeting that other non-monetary side of the agreement would be attended to by putting in place appropriate machinery to address them.
But it is very unfortunate that since 7th December 2017, which is more than one month, we have not heard a word from the minister,” Adeyemi added. Adeyemi berated the federal government for allowing a critical sector of the economy like the research and projects to be left idle for more than two months, saying, “it is our considered opinion in NASU that no serious government would allow the current scenario to take place in research institutions.”
He explained that chief among factors driving industrial unrest in the country is inability of government officials to implement tenets of agreement entered into. “One of the challenges confronting our country today is the rascality of those in government who go into reaching agreements with various unions without a roadmap on how to implement the tenets of the agreement.
Then at the end of the day, when unions begin agitation and demand for the implementation of the agreement, they will then come up shamefully to threaten ‘no work no pay’ slogan. Nigerians have seen that government is unable to implement the ‘no work no pay’ policy because unions always fulfill all the laid down rules and guidelines before embarking on strike action.”