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Research institutions’ workers says strike continues

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 Workers in the research institutions under the auspices of the Joint Research and Allied Institutions Sector Unions (JORAISU) have denied suspending their ongoing 7-month-old strike.

The General Secretaries of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Peters Adeyemi, and Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI), Theophilus Ndubuaku, stated this in a letter to chairmen, secretaries and members of ASURI on Sunday in Abuja.

reports have it that the Ministry of Labour and Employment had on May 5, issued a statement that ASURI had, in a letter to the Minister, Sen. Chris Ngige, noted the suspension of their ongoing strike.

It said that contrary to the statement issued by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment on May 5, that the strike had been suspended, the strike was still on.

According to JORAISU, the statement by the ministry was a misconstruction of reality.

“As all our members know, ASURI is a signatory to the JORAISU strike which commenced on Oct. 13, 2021.

“That strike has not been called off, and we have no reason to direct our members to desist from participating in it.

“The JORAISU strike is a sectoral struggle, so we cannot pull out of it unilaterally.

“The leadership of JORAISU is one, and there is no division whatsoever.

“As stated in our earlier clarification, it is not in our power to unilaterally call off, or suspend the JORAISU strike.

“The action which we took in suspending the ASURI strike is purely for strategic reasons,” the statement said.

It also noted that the General Secretary of NASU, one of the three unions participating in the strike, also disowned the statement issued by the ministry.

“We don’t know what the statement issued by the Ministry of Labour and Employment tried to achieve. We have an ongoing strike declared on the platform of JORAISU.

”The strike has not been suspended. The Ministry of Labour and Employment is yet to hold a single meeting with JORAISU on the strike. So, how can anyone talk about suspending the strike?, ” it said.

It said that the government had not implemented the pending 12 months’ arrears of the new salary structure approved for the workers in research institutes that warranted the review of their stand.

“We have had several Memorandum of Agreements and Memorandum of Understandings saying the money will be paid on a particular date.

“We have been on this matter since President Goodluck Jonathan’s era. When Buhari came on board, we brought it to the attention of the then Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe.

“We even had an agreement which was signed by the current Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, Ogbe as well as the then Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Science and Technology,” it added.

It also noted that other issues in dispute include the 65 years of retirement age, inadequate funding of research institutes, the establishment of the National Agricultural Research Institutes’ Commission, and skipping of CONTISS 10.

It added that the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes, and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI) was the third union that was participating in the strike.

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