Workers of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), on Wednesday, in Lagos, embarked on a two-week warning strike, threatening that they might be forced to embark on an indefinite strike should their various demands not met by the management of the Agency under Mrs. Yetunde Oni.
The workers, who staged a peaceful protest carrying various placards on which were written inscriptions such as “Oni must go,” “Mrs. Oni has destroyed NAFDAC,” “Our mandate is to safeguard the health of Nigerians, yet our welfare is nothing to write home about in NAFDAC,” “Mr. President, we need a substantive Director- General in NAFDAC,” among others, said a lot of impunity was going on in NAFDAC, urging the presidency in to save the situation.
According to them, part of their demands include a review of salary structure for all grades of workers in the Agency, release of results of promotion exercises and their full implementation, full payment of arrears to workers from 2012 to date, appointment of substantive Director- General for NAFDAC, among others.
Speaking with newsmen, the NAFDAC Union Chairman, Comrade Peter Joseph Anzaku, lamented the level of impunity in the Agency, demanding that all the demands by workers must be met before work could resume.
Anzaku, while recalling that the workers embarked on similar strike in 2014, but nothing was done by the management to all the demands put before them, vowed that workers would not resume work unless their various demands were met.
“How long can we fold our arms and accept this impunity, we would not condone this. Therefore, no promotion result, no resumption, no review of salaries, no resumption.
“The union is equivocally demanding the approval, going by the ministry with respect to all promotions across the levels. They must be implemented with all excepting one. Chief Executive Officers are not coming back to GL12, they must remain on GL13.
“That is the stand and if after two weeks, the issues are not resolved we are going into an indefinite strike, it would be worse in the history of NAFDAC.
“This strike is total, it is total in the sense that it no work. No director, on Ag DG, no SA in whatever capacity would be allowed into office until the issues are sorted out by the Federal Government.
“We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a substantive DG so that NAFDAC would not be under the control of ministry,” Anzaku said.
The union chairman also demanded that a Board be established for the Agency, which he said had been running without one for a long time, even as he called for cancellation of 150 job placements recently approved by NAFDAC without due process.
Also speaking, Chairman, Federal Area Council, Medical and health Workers Union, Comrade Abba Ibrahim, also corroborated Anzaku on the various demands by the workers, recalling that the NAFDAC Ag. director- general shunned the meeting that was called on Tuesday to resolve the lingering issues.
“Yesterday, they called us to a meeting, the Ag. DG did not come, she sent a director. We learnt she has travelled to Canada. She left when she knows her house is burning. We need a substantive DG.
“The presidency must intervene, NAFDAC is too strategic to be left in the hands of these people. NAFDAC makes N10billion into the covers of this country as yearly revenue,” he said.