The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) embarked on a warning industrial action about four months ago, precisely, April 2020. About two months later, the leadership of JUSUN called off the strike after ostensibly extracting some commitments from both federal and state governments.
A visit to the judiciary in all the states of the federation shows that nothing has changed. There is no iota of change from the status quo ante bellum before the strike action began in April. Everything has remained the same. What then did JUSUN gain from the two months industrial action which entailed downing of tools? There is yet no autonomy for the judiciary at every level, particularly state level. The old ways of doing things are still very much prevalent.
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on an almost one year industrial strike in 2020 and extracted some commitments and takeaways from the government before it called off its strike. Even though the government had allegedly reneged its obligations on some of those commitments or demands, ASUU got something tangible from last year’s strike. I learned that ASUU has embarked or is about to down tools again to press for the implementation of these remnant demands.
National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) is currently on strike action nationwide. Before NARD calls off its strike action, it will definitely achieve the implementation of some demands from the government.
In the case of JUSUN, it embarked on a justifiable strike action and called it off without any tangible or intangible commitment from the government for the implementation of its demands. JUSUN should exploit this opportunity of gale of strike action to extract a strong commitment from the government.
The judiciary at the state level ought to be autonomous. Without justice, every other thing in human existence crumbles. JUSUN should commence immediate strike action without further delay now that ASUU, NARD and some other industrial unions are currently in strike action. Let the government negotiate with every essential union’s demands at the same time. JUSUN should be reminded that if no further strike action takes place this year, it cannot go on any strike action next year.
By 2022, electioneering activities will commence in earnest. Litigation will be flying from left, right and center. JUSUN must not go on strike next year so as not to give excuses to politicians to exploit the situation. The current political office occupants may exploit any strike action from JUSUN next year to sit tight in offices. The time to extract an implementation of some of JUSUN’s demands is now. JUSUN should declare a strike action for at least throughout the duration of this year beginning from this August unless the government decides to meet its demands without further delay.
A stitch in time saves nine.