We 'll Invoke 'No Work, No Pay' Enugu Govt Tells JUSUN

* Ugwuanyi 
The Enugu State government has described the industrial action
embarked upon by members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria's
(JUSUN) Enugu State branch as illegal and a contravention of a binding
and subsisting order of the National Industrial Court.

A press statement issued by the secretary to the Enugu State
government, Dr. G.O.C. Ajah, noted that the court had restrained the
union from going on strike without fulfilling the preconditions
outlined in the Trade Dispute Act.

The government explained that it's instructive that the judiciary
union did not appeal against the National Industrial Court's
judgement, and there is as yet no order staying the execution of the
order restraining the union and its membership from carrying out a
strike action on the basis of the Consolidated Judiciary Salary
Structure (CONJUSS), which the court had declared to be a non-binding

According to Ajah, "sometime in 2009 or thereabouts, the Body of Chief
Judges of the various states of the federation recommended an enhanced
salary structure for the judiciary staff known as CONJUSS."

The statement noted further that the Judiciary Staff Union in Enugu
State had issued a communique threatening to call out its members on
strike if the CONJUSS was not implemented, prompting the Enugu State
government to file a suit (NIC/EN09/2010) in 2010 against JUSUN at the
National Industrial Court praying, among other things, that the
communique the members of JUSUN issued was unlawful and that it cannot
embark on strike on the basis of CONJUSS without a recourse to due

The state had also sought a perpetual injunction restraining the union
members from embarking on strike on the basis of non-implementation of

Ajah pointed out that although JUSUN and its chairman and secretary
who were defendants in the suit, counter-claimed and prayed the court
to order the government to implement the Consolidated Structure as
recommended with effect from 2009, the court on September 23, 2016,
upheld the Enugu State government's claim in part, dismissed JUSUN's
claims and made the following submissions:

"That the Consolidated Judiciary Salary Structure is a recommendation
and not an agreement that can be said to be binding on the parties;
that CONJUSS can only form the basis of further negotiations; that
members of the union could only lawfully embark on a strike action
upon the fulfillment of the precondition in the Trade Dispute Act;
that the precondition is the violation of existing collective
contracts of employment or collective agreement, and there was nothing
before the court to show such violation; an order of perpetual
injunction restraining JUSUN and its membership or any staff of the
judiciary from embarking on strike on the basis of CONJUSS."

Pointing out that the government began negotiations with the
leadership of the union towards an implementable salary raise for the
judiciary workers as a demonstration of good faith and had constituted
an Executive Council Committee in that regard, he said it's
regrettable that the committee was preparing its report to be
submitted to the Governor-in-Council when the union commenced an
indefinite strike on April 3, this year, without notice.

He also reminded the union that as a further demonstration of fidelity
to workers welfare, the state government has maintained the prompt
payment of salaries on or before the 25th of every month and does not
owe any salary arrears to the union or any other workers in the state.

While calling on the leadership of the union to call off the strike
action immediately and resume negotiations with the executive council
committee, the state's attorney-general and commissioner for justice,
Mr. Melitus Eze, explained that a violation of a court order does not
reflect respect for the rule of law particularly given the fact that
JUSUN members are judiciary workers.

On what options the government may consider in the event the union
fails to heed the counsel, he said: "If they remain adamant, there are
implied actions we can take; that is no work, no pay. Also we can
still go forward to at least press the machinery of court to commit
the officers for contempt of court, because they are disobeying the
positive order of the court restraining them from going on strike."
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