… Claims workers are on strike
… Same union leaders were at work during same strike
Some Trade Union Leaders at the Federal Institute for Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) prevented officials from the Federal Government from entering the premises of the federal agency last week in Lagos.
The officials from the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology Abuja (FIIRO’s supervisory ministry) who were at FIIRO for a routine internal staff audit were shocked as they were denied access to the premises of the agency by some of the embattled trade union executives.
The routine staff audit our correspondent gathered, involves a physical presentation of all staff to determine those who are no longer in service as a result of retirement, dismissal or death and to equally determine those staff that have upgraded their training to showcase their credentials for promotion.
Our correspondent reliably gathered that some of the elements that are resisting the audit exercise are those with some shoddy characters whom are afraid that the audit exercise might likely expose them.
Specifically, reliable sources have it that some of the union leaders have been unduly promoted with questionable training upgrades and without recourse to due process. They fear that allowing the audit will expose them as they can hardly substantiate their claim as they quickly relied on the excuse that the unions are on strike.
Our investigation reveals that the purported strike action has nothing to do with disruption of the internal audit as FIIRO management and union members and staff have always been engaged in the institute’s activities since last October the strike began.
“FIIRO management and members of all the trade unions in the institute have always been engaged in activities since then. For instance, the Techno Expo in Abuja recently where the union members went to Abuja to participate and for Board meetings.
Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), Non Academic Union of Staff Union (NASU) and Academic Staff Union of Research Institution (ASURI) are said to be have embarked on strike since October last year.
Some of their grievances include non-payment of 12months CONRAISS arrears of 53.73 per cent, salary increase, withdrawal of circular on skipping of salary grade level 10, amongst others.
“Within this period of strike, they all have been involved in several training workshops and allied activities without any complain. A few of the union leaders (the EXCO) have something to hide with respect to questionable academic credentials that they may not wish to expose.
“They are in the minority. More so, over 200 members of staff that were part of this exercise from the six geopolitical zones of the country have disassociated themselves from their actions through a disclaimer signed with their full names and signatures expressing their willingness to continue with the staff verification exercise because they believe it is in their own interest to participate”, our source stressed’
To further buttress the above claim, a FIIRO staff from South-South zonal office who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent some of them were compelled to cancel their names in the alleged disclaimer notice to avoid victimization from their superiors.
In his comment, the head of Information and Public Relations, FIIRO, Mr. Chris Olumuyiwa, debunked the insinuations by the union that thugs and police men were engaged to break the gates of the institute and to harass them, saying that the it was just an internal auditing which has nothing to do with ongoing nationwide industrial action.
While commending the security personnel, Olumuyiwa stated that “The police men were very professional in the discharge of their duties and their presence was very helpful in ensuring a peaceful atmosphere.”
He added that the management of the institute is presently engaging the union executives on possible ways of resolving the impasse.
He noted, “Earlier today the union executives and the police authorities met at the police command with the resolution for all parties to maintain the peace.
“The present strike action is not peculiar to FIIRO, but a nationwide strike by all research Institutes across the country. The clarification became imperative in order to give the general public the true picture of what took place in FIIRO today following the story published by a popular online paper.
Explaining the true side of what happened on Thursday 7 April 2022, the PRO said “It has come to the notice of the management of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, stories as published by the Sahara Reporters that hoodlums invaded the premises of FIIRO. Such stories are far from the facts and they are aimed at causing misunderstanding in the institute.
“Members of staff of the institute were the ones that clustered around the gate and not hoodlums. The staff audit has the popular approval of members of staff as evidenced in the large turnout of staff, even those at the out stations.
“The Committee for the exercise has taken due diligence to ensure that the exercise took place and at the same time give everybody the opportunity to air their reservations over it. To keep the records straight, the on-going strike of the union has nothing to do with the staff audit, neither has FIIRO Board or the Ministry cancelled the 2021 promotion exercise.
“Also, the issue raised on Dr. Chima Igwe is before a competent court and we should not pre-empt the outcome. While we await the outcome it is the general view of the Board that the status quo should remain.”
Olumuyiwa stated, “The 2021 promotion exercise, neither the governing board nor the supervising ministry cancelled the exercise. It was the resolution of the governing board that a true picture of the numerical strength of the institute should be ascertained before giving its nod on the promotion exercise. Hence the need for the internal staff audits.”