The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has apologised to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, over the walkout staged by ifs officers from the venue of a scheduled conciliatory meeting on April 20.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, made the union’s apology letter available to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.
The letter, according to NAN, was signed by the union’s General Secretary, Isiah Adetola.
One of the leaders of the union, Jimoh Musa, had told PREMIUM TIMES that his team members walked out of the venue of the meeting chanting solidarity songs after they were kept waiting for hours without any communication from Mr Ngige, who convened the meeting.
The meeting was scheduled to hold between the minister leading the Federal Government’s delegation and the leaders of JUSUN, whose ongoing industrial action has now paralysed courts across the country for three weeks.
JUSUN embarked on the strike on April 6 to press home their demand for financial autonomy for the judiciary.
A conciliatory meeting scheduled to hold with Federal Government representatives failed to hold on April 20 due to lack of communication between the labour minister and the invited union leaders.
JUSUN’s General Secretary, Adetoala, explained in the apology letter sent to the labour minister over the failure of the meeting to hold that the officers of the union, many of whom he said were Muslims undergoing fasting, left the venue after waiting for two hours without communication from the minister.
He appealed to the minister to continue with its role of organising meetings aimed at finding a solution to the crisis.
The letter read, “Sir, information has reached our union that the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, has expressed dissatisfaction with the way JUSUN members left your conference room on Tuesday, April 20.
“JUSUN wishes to put it on record that many of our members at the conciliation meeting are Muslims and were fasting on the day in question.
“Having stayed for about two hours without communication from any quarter of the ministry, JUSUN members, agitating and complaining that they needed to go and break their fast, had to leave.
“All other things put aside, JUSUN commends and appreciates the role of the Ministry of Labour in ensuring peaceful relations at work place; in the case of JUSUN, by trying to ensure conducive environment, and justice for all Nigerians.
“Therefore, we sincerely urge the minister to continue with the conciliation meetings, which you have commenced.
“We are all concerned about the good of Nigeria and all annoyance should not be carried too far and be allowed to derail us.”
According to Mr Adetola, JUSUN tenders its “unreserved apology to Ngige in whatever way it has hurt the minister.”
NAN also reports that the minister has already accepted the apology, and said a new date for continuation of the conciliation will be communicated shortly to all relevant stakeholders.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the minister, in a statement, on April 20, announced an indefinite postponement of the meeting.
No new date for the meeting was announced by the labour ministry as of Tuesday.
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