Research institute chief faults prolonged NASU strike
The Executive Director of the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike, Dr Julius Okonkwo, has described the elongated strike by the Non-Academic Staff Union and Associated Institutions (NASU) as unnecessary and uncalled for.
He therefore called on all the striking NRCRI NASU staff that have remained at home due to the strike but continued to collect government salary since May 2016, to return to their duty posts in their own interest.
Okonkwo, who spoke at the opening of the NRCRI 2017 research planning and review workshop, noted that there are three unions at the Institute that include Academic Staff Union of Research Institutes (ASURI), Senior Staff Association (SSA) and NASU, explained that the trio “are great partners to the management of NRCRI and in fact, the members have contributed to the success stories of the Institute.”
He stressed the importance of sustaining the positive attitude of the unions believing that all the staff needs the Institute and posited that while the unions’ leaders should always discuss their grievances with management, the management should listen to the Unions leaders to find a way forward.
According to Okonkwo, who was attending the last workshop as Executive Director of the Institute due to retirement, said: “We should never allow NRCRI to diminish because of selfish or sectional interests. They (striking NASU members) should be informed that their actions are unlawful and the Ministry may not continue to watch a group of people disrupt government work at the time the economy of the country is in recession.
“The elongated strike by NASU Union is unnecessary and uncalled for and I am sure that by now many of the members have discovered that those who asked them to go on strike did not tell them the whole truth.”
On staff development and unionism, the Executive Director reported that between 2013 and 2014 about 200 junior and senior staff were employed to replace those that retired and strengthen research adding that over 15 got their Masters and Doctorate degrees while about 30 were taken to a workshop in China, 20 to Tanzania in 2016 and 2017 respectively to expose them to research reports and paper presentation.
He added that about 30 Audit and Accounting Staff were trained in 2016 by a training team from the office of the Auditor General and Accountant General of the Federation and that all these were done in order to boost efficient and productivity of staff of the Institute.”