Unizik NAAT begins 2-week warning strike
By Gabriel Chy Alonta
Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Chapter of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), yesterday, March 22, 2022, commenced a 2-week warning strike in line with the directive from their national body to proceed on industrial action to press home the union’s demands.
The Chairman of NAAT, Unizik branch, Comrade Chukwuemeka Okoli, who disclosed this to newsmen in Awka, the Anambra state capital, directed all members in laboratories, workshops, studios to down tools with immediate effect. According to him, the strike became imperative following the recurrent failure of the Federal Government to honour the 2009 FG/NAAT agreement and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered with the union.
Orient Daily reports that the NAAT National Executive Committee (NEC), had, on Thursday, March 17, 2022, held an emergency virtual meeting, where 46 out of the 47 branches, who participated voted in support of a 2-week warning strike. The NEC also directed her branches to constitute monitoring teams to ensure compliance and enforcement of the warning strike.
Also speaking to newsmen, the branch secretary, Comrade Engr. Chinedu Umembamalu, noted that the rising cost of living across the country necessitated a renegotiation of the 2009 FG/NAAT agreement, which, he said, has enshrined a periodic 5-years review of their salary structure to meet the present realities.
Umembamalu said, “The Federal Government has reneged on reviewing this even after 13 years, thus placing our members on the same salary structure for this long despite the rising inflation.
“Laboratories in our universities cannot support the economic drive of the country through robust research as they have remained unfunded without the necessary equipment to support effective learning. The government has failed to release the necessary approval circular to enable universities to implement their CONTISS 14 & 15 career structure”, he decried.
Reacting to non-payment of members’ salaries, he expressed worry that the Federal Government had neglected the autonomy of the universities as enshrined in the University Establishment Act – to hire and fire. This, according to him, resulted in non-payment of its over 400 branch members for over 2-years despite the traumatic experience occasioned by the present economic hardship.
Umembamalu further urged members to ensure compliance to the NEC directive, noting that the union had in the past, given the Federal Government necessary time and goodwill to address the issues to no avail. He assured that the industrial action would be total and comprehensive until the federal government does the needful.