Oshiomhole invokes “no work, no pay” policy in Edo

by Victor Hanson

obianyo

Members of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Anambra state council have refused to be intimidated into calling off their two-month strike for the implementation of the Consolidated Judiciary Salary Structure (CONJUSS). The state government has tried all forms of blackmail to try and break the strike, but to no avail. At the beginning of November, the JUSUN Chair, Comrade Mark Ifezue revealed the government’s plan to use thugs as strike breakers.

There is thus an urgent need for workers unity to boost the resistance of the JUSUN members in their legitimate struggle. The Anambra State Councils of NLC and TUC must mobilise affiliate members and civil society organisations to join judiciary workers on the picket lines. SWL members in Anambra state fully support the JUSUN strike.

The grouse of the union is the refusal of the state government to be categorical on the payment of CONJUSS. In the first instance, it has refused to grant any salary increase to workers in the judiciary as against the case in other sectors of the public service. The vague promise made by Governor Willie Obiano is that some version of CONJUSS will be paid in 2016 when the state’s internally generated revenue doubles. This is totally unfair and an attempt to short change the concerned workers.

JUSUN’s clearly put position is for the government to “address the issue of CONJUSS by working out and agreeing with the union on an acceptable salary chart based on CONJUSS emoluments with a defined time of implementation”, according to Comade Ifezue.

Meanwhile, in Edo state, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has declared that he will not pay JUSUN members the salaries of January-July 2015, when they were on strike. He is invoking the “no work, no pay” policy which, according to him “is the law”. To say this is unfortunate would be an understatement. As NLC President, Oshiomhole led workers in several strikes at the end of which the unions ensured avoided this same law with a “no victimisation” clause in agreements reached with private or public sector employers.

But this goes to show that the self-emancipation of the working class goes far deeper than the phenomenon of a few union leaders stepping into government in whatever capacity. The law being referred to by Adams is the political will of the bosses. It is morally indefensible for a former leader of the trade union movement (who rose to national fame through this opportunity) to invoke such. But politics is primarily about power, and for the bosses, irrespective of where they come from, exercising this has little to do with morality.

This is the time for the NLC Edo State Council to stand by the judiciary workers and demand the full payment of their January to July 2015 wages. The workers united cannot be defeated. Edo state workers must not relent in defending workers’ against anti-worker laws. The struggle for a better society lies in every little struggle we wage against injustice, oppression and exploitation.