The Federal Government has said the meeting scheduled with the leadership of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) has been postponed.
The meeting which was scheduled to hold on Tuesday in Abuja, never held even as the leaders of the unions left the venue.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, stated that the meeting was postponed to help the negotiating team of government agree on all issues from the Memorandum of Understanding reached at separate meetings with the tiers and arms of government.
It would be recalled that on the said day scheduled for the meeting, amid the strike by the judiciary workers, after a long wait at the conference room of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the leaders of the unions staged a walkout from the reconciliation meeting with the government and representatives of the state governors where the failed meeting was to be held.
Although the striking workers were informed that Ngige was holding a meeting with the government team in his office, they were adamant to plea which tried to calm them as they chanted solidarity songs, leaving the room.
Recall that this would be the second failed meeting scheduled with the minister in the series of discussions which is targeted at resolving the impasse between the government and the judiciary workers whose action has paralysed activities across the courts in the country.
However, the minister have defending the action of the government while briefing reporters in his office. He noted that it became necessary to ensure the meeting with the unions came with a Memorandum of Action that would be implementable with timelines.
According to a statement by a spokesperson for the ministry, Charles Akpanhim, he quoted Ngige saying: “There is no point rushing to do a meeting that will be fruitless. The judiciary, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, and even the Presidency are involved in this negotiation because the meeting held yesterday (Monday) 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 added, “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.”
Ngige alleged that the unions’ leaders were in a hurry despite being informed of the little time needed for him to round off a meeting with the government team.
“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,” he said.