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Research Institute staff protest unpaid allowances, poor funding

Members of the Joint Research and Allied Institute Sector Unions on Monday in Ibadan staged a protest to demand improved funding, payment of 12 months’ salary increase arrears and establishment of a central body in charge of research institutes in the country.

Research institutes in Oyo State and other parts of the country have been on strike since November 13, 2017 after the expiration of a 15-day ultimatum given to the Federal Government to address issues raised by the unions expired.

At the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, workers blocked the main gate and displayed placards that had inscriptions that depicted their grievances.

Chairman of the Joint Action Committee of all unions at the institute, Egunjobi Ayodeji, said that since 2009, all efforts made by the unions to appeal to the Federal Government to address the workers’ grievances failed.

He said, “The protest is against the Federal Government’s refusal to pay the 12 months’ arrears of the increment on our salaries. Our colleagues in other schools have received their own. We are also calling on the government to approve the 65 years retirement age for non-researchers as it is obtained in the universities. We also want the government to release a document on our condition of service.”

Chairman of the institute’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions, Muyiwa Babatimehin, said poor funding of research institutes in Nigeria had robbed the country of adequate plans for the future. He also said that there was an exodus of researchers and scientists in the institutes because of poor staff welfare.

“The most important of our agitation is the poor funding of research institutes generally. While other schools have TETFund to rely on for infrastructural development and capacity building, research institutes do not have such a facility.

“We have asked the government to create such a fund for us since 2009, but that has not been done. Poor funding of research institutions is resulting in the exodus of researchers and scientists from research institutions. They are going to tertiary institutions, thereby starving us of good hands. There are many universities who are ready to offer employment to our own people just because we cannot look after them. That is affecting us,” he said.

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