Judiciary Staff Union thwarts Anambra Govt’s attempt to end strike through the back door; negotiations deadlocked

Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 15 December 2015 | 4,116 times

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The over three months strike embarked upon by Anambra State judiciary workers took a new dimension yesterday following alleged attempts by officials of the State Government to break the ranks of the state branch of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).

Information reaching News Express has it that when the negotiations between JUSUN officials led by its chairman, Comrade Mark Ifezue, and the state Head of Service (HOS), Mr. Harry Udu, on Tuesday last week broke down following disagreement on when the workers would receive their unpaid September and October 2015 salaries, the HOS vowed to do everything humanly possible to ensure that the workers returned to work yesterday.

According to Comrade Ifezue, some judiciary workers were being used by government to prevail on the workers to resume work yesterday by stationing buses at Onitsha, Nnewi, Otuocha, Ekwulobia and other towns to bring the workers to Awka to open the High Court Complex.

He said that government promised to pay the judiciary workers who reported for work N5,000 per working day, alleging that the rebel judiciary workers were quartered in a hotel very close to the High Court Complex from where they were operating.

Ifezue noted that following the action of some of their colleagues, he directed all judiciary workers to report in Awka so as to brief them on the development, insisting that there was no justification for government to withhold their salaries and expect them to resume work.

In his words, “We agreed at the meeting with HOS that payment of the Consolidated Judiciary Staff Salary (CONJUSS) should start in the third quarter of 2016 and that we should be paid the outstanding September and October 2015 salaries immediately. But rather than pay us, government wanted us to sign agreement to start work and we are saying that it is unacceptable to us.

“We did not see any justification in government paying us November salary and refusing to pay September and October. To us, there was something that met the eye and that was why I refused to sign the agreement prepared during the meeting on Tuesday last week.

“It was then that the HOS threatened that we must start work today (yesterday) and we are here to say that no court will open unless government agrees to our condition. I want to assure our members that we will not be intimidated and if this strike lingers till next year, we will no longer resume unless CONJUSS is paid first.”

Comrade Ifezue called on the workers to disregard any directive that did not come from the leadership of JUSUN, stresing that the agreement earlier reached with government was that no staff should be victimised for participating in the strike.

•Photo shows Anambra Chief Judge, Justice Philip Umeadi.

Source: News Express

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