NAN – The Concerned Judiciary Workers, a splinter group of the striking Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) in Anambra, has given the union seven days to call off its three-month-old strike.
The Protem Chairman of the group, Mr Chirah Ozioma, made the call in Awka on Monday after meeting with some judiciary workers.
Ozioma accused the state executive of JUSUN led by Mr Mark Ifezue of misleading the workforce and frustrating the efforts of the state government to end the strike.
“We decided to call this meeting to inform the workers of the true position of things. The truth is that workers are now hungry.
“Gov. Willie Obiano has been labour-friendly, kind and magnanimous in handling the matter and had paid the November salary even without negotiating with the workers.
“The government has promised to look into the demands of the workers in the third quarter of 2016.
“We wonder why Ifezue vehemently refused to sign the agreement reached between the government and the union during the meeting of Dec. 8 to end the strike without reasons.
“Having evaluated the position of the government, we feel that the JUSUN executive is frustrating the series of efforts to call off the strike.
“When the seven days ultimatum expires and JUSUN refuses to sign the agreement, we will take drastic measures to reopen the courts within the confines of the law. Ozioma, also a judiciary staff member, said.
Reacting, Ifezue, urged the workers to disregard the call emanating from the splinter group, describing their efforts as “sabotage”.
Addressing the workers in front of the headquarters of the state judiciary complex, Ifezue warned the group against forcing open the courts.
“We have met severally with the state government but unfortunately, we have not been able to resolve the issues.
“Instead of exercising patience and allowing the agreement to be properly smoothened, the government hired some individuals to organise a meeting against the stand of the union.
“The workers are resolute and will continue the strike until the government does the needful,” the chairman said.
Ifezue said that the union agreed with the state government’s offer to review the implementation of CONJUSS in 2016 but wondered why it chose to victimise the workers by withholding their salaries for two months.
“The remaining issue why we did not sign the agreement was because the government did not show any commitment to pay workers the September and October salaries.
“I insisted that the government should show good faith in not victimising the workers by paying the salaries but the government took a different position to split the workers.
“If they don’t pay us, we will continue to sit at home,” Ifezue said.
The state chapter of JUSUN had on Sept. 7 embarked on an industrial action, demanding the implementation of Consolidated Judiciary Staff Salary Structure (CONJUSS) by the state government.