Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) were yesterday left stranded as the meeting proposed to settle the probem between them and the Federal Government did not hold because Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige was absent.
The meeting was scheduled for 3pm but Ngige, who serves as the conciliator, was not at the venue when the workers left after waiting for almost two hours.
JUSUN National Public Relations Officer Comrade Koin Selepreye said it was wrong for the minister to keep them waiting when the invitation said the meeting would start by 3pm.
She added that the union would always be available for any meeting to resolve the strike, but said members will not accept it when the meeting time is not respected.
National President of PASAN Comrade Mohammed Usman berated Ngige for ‘the unfair treatment meted to the workers’. He said they respect time and won’t accept being kept waiting.
Efforts by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Peter Yarfa, and Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Ita Enang, to prevail on the unions to return for the meeting were unsuccessful.
But Ngige, in a statement, explained that the meeting was postponed to enable the government’s negotiating team harmonise all issues from the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) reached at separate meetings with tiers and arms of government.
Ngige said this was necessary to ensure the meeting with the unions come with a Memorandum of Action which is implementable with time lines.
The statement by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Charles Akpan, reads: “There is no point rushing to do a meeting that will be fruitless. The judiciary, 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.
“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.”
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