The strike embarked by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) continued yesterday as the federal government postponed a meeting between its officials and the leaders of the union.
Following the failure of the representatives of the federal government to attend the meeting at the scheduled 3pm, the union leaders staged a walk-out.
The Minister of labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige later said that the meeting with the combined unions of JUSUN and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria( PASAN) was postponed to enable the federal government's negotiating team to harmonise all issues from the Memorandum of Understanding reached at separate meetings with the other tiers and arms of government.
Addressing journalists in his office, shortly after the union representatives walked out in protest, the minister said the decision became necessary to ensure that the meeting with the unions can come up with a Memorandum of Action (MoA), which is implementable with time lines.
"There is no point rushing to do a meeting that will be fruitless. The Judiciary, the Governors Forum and even the Presidency are involved in this negotiation because the meeting held yesterday was at the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President.
"The arising documents are not yet properly harmonised. It will therefore not be fruitful to hold a negotiation where people speak from irreconcilable positions. It won't help us and it won't help the unions either," he said.
According to Ngige, "the reason is to ensure that the agreement reached at the end of our meeting here is put into action, with timelines for implementation. So, if we don't have a paper that is ready to go, then there will be no point for the talk shop.
The minister explained that the members of the unions were in a hurry even as they were properly informed of the little time needed for him to round off a meeting with the government team, comprising the Solicitor General of the Federation, Mr. Dayo Apata; the Director General of the Governors Forum, Asishana Bayo Okauru and the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Senator Ita Enang .
He said the meeting will continue at a date to be announced soon.
"It is better done properly so that the governors can implement whatever agreement we enter into . The governors hold the ace because they hold the sovereign in their respective states, even though they are sub-nationals but they run the government of those states.
Ngige said the federal government believed in autonomy, adding however that utmost patriotism and tact have to be exercised to sift the issues in contention.
"Today the fund management committees have been proposed and there is also executive Order 10. This means there is problem and we must be very careful not to create more problems than what we are out to solve.
Earlier members of the JUSUN had staged walk-out.
The meeting was scheduled for 3 pm. However, the judiciary workers said they waited for the minister and others from the government side to show up to no avail.