By; SAMSON YAKI, Lafia
The Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Nasarawa State Chapter, has commenced an indefinite strike following the failure of state’s Chief Judge to meet their demands on welfare issues.
The Chairman of the union, Mr Jimoh Musa, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Lafia on Saturday.
Musa said the decision to embark on the strike action was reached at a congress meeting held on Friday because of the insensitivity and refusal of the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Suleiman Dikko to address their demands.
“We reached a consensus at the congress that if the management of the High Court headed by the Chief Judge of the state did not meet our demands put across to him that has been lingering before 12a.m Saturday, we will resume indefinite strike.
“So, technically as I speak to you, we have commenced the strike but it is on Monday the state will feel the impact.
“We have been too patient and tried hard to avoid this last resort but we have no choice but to press home our demands,” he said.
Musa said some of the union’s grievances included non conversion or promotion of workers, who went for further studies legitimately for the past four years and the inordinate reduction of workers’ salaries to the tune of N4.7 million monthly without any clear explanations given.
“We tried to resolve the issue amicably and not wash our dirty linen outside but he refused to listen.
“For the past four years, our workers get released properly to educate themselves.
“They go to school, come back but instead of them to be converted and promoted, the chief judge turns deaf ears on that.
“We have workers who have read law with their LL.B, Master degrees and so on but remained redundant.
“Secondly, management has been slashing workers’ salaries for over two years now to the tune of N4.7 million monthly without any clear explanations,” the union leader said.
Musa added that the union was also against the current method of promotion of staff whereby judicial workers, unlike in the past, are mandated to write an examination and get 60 per cent of the scores before getting the promotion.
“In the past, in the judiciary we were rated by your annual performance but now he introduced the writing of examinations before interview.
“Even that exam, you must get 60 per cent as pass mark. In other institutions, it is 40 per cent. So he treats the judiciary the way he likes.
“We have resolved that we will not continue to tolerate his high handedness and the way he is handling the judiciary in the state because prosperity will judge us if we keep quiet and leave the system.
“And this strike is solely because of the management of the High Court and the Chief Judge in particular.
“It has nothing to do with the governor of Nasarawa state because the governor has been keeping faith with us by providing all we want. He has been paying us regularly. So this is an in house cleansing,” the JUSUN chairman said.
Musa said that the union followed the requirement of labour law by giving the specified 21 days notice, followed by another seven days notice but with no response from the Chief Judge.
He, however, said that if the union was invited for dialogue a congress will be convened to suspend the strike, but if there is nothing, by Monday there will be total shutdown.”
He advised members of the union to be calm, resolute and determined to overcome the challenge ahead of them, until all their demands are fully met.