The workers also called for their re-instatement.
Some 95 sacked workers of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, CRIN, in Ibadan have called for the removal of the board chairman of the institution, Francis Fadahunsi.
The embattled staffers staged a peaceful protest to the Mokola office of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Oyo State chapter, on Wednesday to call for their reinstatement.
The staff described their sack as illegal, saying it smacked of victimization. They said the non-confirmation of their employment, which was given as a reason for their sack, was ridiculous.
The protesters were led by the state Coordinator of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights, Bamigboye Abiodun, and the Chairman, Committee of Sacked Workers, Ajibola Yinka.
They alleged that the sack took place between January 24 and 27 when the affected workers were issued letters for not being confirmed after years of engagement with the research institute.
Some of their protest placards read: “We demand for the removal of Chief Fadahunsi as the CRIN board chairman”, “No to victimization of our union leaders”, “Police, SSS, Civil Defence officers stationed in CRIN must be withdrawn now”, “No to victimization of CRIN,” “No to Police occupation of CRIN”, “Sack of 95 CRIN workers is a clear case of victimization”, and “We demand for promotion of staff as at when due” among others.
They contended that the onus of confirmation of officers on probation lies on the management, adding that the law says that the probation must not exceed two years unless extension is approved by the Federal Civil Service Commission.
When the director of the institute, Malachy Akoroda, was contacted on phone, he declined comment, saying he was out of town.
“Please I am not in town now, and I cannot react on the telephone but by Friday, I will make available all records to verify all your facts” he said.
The protesters called on the trade unions, civil society organizations and the public to join the campaign for the reinstatement of all sacked workers as well as payment of all outstanding salaries of workers in the institute.