Strike: Coalition of research institutes plan 2-days mega rally in FCT

By Fatima Mohammed-Lawal

The Senior Staff  Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI) says the coalition will embark on a peaceful rally to press home their demands from the Federal Government.

Dr Akintola Benjamin, the National President of SSAUTHRIAI, confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of Perennial and Sectorial Meetings of the Research Institutes, organised at the National Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) on Thursday in Ilorin.

He however said the unions would announce the planned dates of the two-day mega rally in Abuja next week.

He recalled that SSAUTHRIAI and the Joint Research and Allied Institute Sector Unions (JORAISU) have been on strike over welfare of workers for sometimes.

Benjamin explained that strike was declared on Oct. 13, 2021, adding that the strike initially started between 2010 and 2018.

According to him, the unions had 33 meetings with the Federal Government and House of Representatives with no result.

He pointed out that their agitations included increase in salaries, payment of arrears and extension of 65 years retirement age.

According to him, Nigerian research institutes workers are migrating to the universities and other sectors because of unfavourable working conditions.

“For Nigeria to develop and become a producer nation, it must prioritise its research institutes and workers,” he said.

Benjamin also noted that the adoption of Brazilian model of research would not work in Nigeria, adding that people needed to understudy such model by travelling to Brazil.

He also advocated the establishment of a central body to be known as  National Research Institutes Commission (NARICOM).

“The establishment of the commission will coordinate all activities of the Research Institutes, so that their work conditions will be better like what is obtained in the universities,” he said.

Dr Patricia Pesu, the Executive Director of NSPRI, said research institutes are national infrastructures established for the development of the country, especially in post-harvest research, safety and stability of foods in the country.

Pesu, represented by Dr Oyebanji Olufemi, the Director, Research Operation of NSPRI, observed that the issue of strike actions has to do with welfare of members.

He assured that NSPRI would do its best to protect the interest of researchers and workers. (NAN)