By Fatima Mohammed-Lawal
Mr Issa Aremu, the Director-General, Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), has advised striking research institutes across Nigeria to embrace social dialogue in resolving incessant strikes by unions.
Aremu gave the advice in Ilorin on Monday during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of industrial strike actions embarked by unions nationwide, including MINILS.
The Research Institutes Unions includes the Joint Research and Allied Institutions Sector Unions (JORAISU), and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU).
Others include the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), and the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI).
Aremu, who observed that the demands of the unions are legitimate, however added that there was need to re-look into the method of strike actions by the unions for the past three years.
“As an agency of labour, MINILS is ready to facilitate the quick resolutions of these strike actions,’’ the director-general said.
Aremu said a parley titled: “Invitation to a One-Day Fact Finding Parley on the Current Industrial Dispute in the Nation’s Research Institutions’’, was aimed at ending the strike.
“The one-day parley is aimed at seeking pathways to end the on-going industrial action by JORAISU members.
“MINILS desires this intervention firstly as fact-finding measure to assist the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment in its mandatory role.
“The point cannot be overstated that the current crisis is surmountable through facts driven processes that include the parties in social dialogue.
“MINILS’s accumulated experience in industrial relations, and related collective bargaining, social dialogue, conflict management, labour and employment laws positions the institute to facilitate this problem solving interaction,’’ he said.
In her reaction, Mrs Roselyn Adebayo, the NASU Chairman, MINILS stated that the industrial action was national and MINILS workers have decided to abide by the instructions from the national body.
“It has been quite long that we have been demanding that the Federal Government fulfill our demands including retirement age increase to 65 years for non-research staff as obtainable in the universities and others.
“We have seven items of our demand but the government is not responding to us,’’ she said.
Mr Joel Afolayan, the NASU Secretary, added that there were peculiar and earned allowances that government has not paid workers.
He said there was need for adequate funding of research institutes and release of scheme/conditions of service, among others.
“We don’t have a commission dedicated to research institutes in Nigeria as member institutions in that subsector cuts across seven Federal Ministries,’’ he said.
“Labour’s demands also include payment of 12-month Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS) arrears of 53.37 per cent increase and withdrawal of circular on non-skipping of salary Grade Level 10,’’ he said. (NAN)