‘No work, no pay’ rule applies, Oshiomhole tells judicial workers
The strike was premised on disagreements bordering on demand for financial autonomy by the workers under the aegis of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).
But the governor, while speaking in Benin City, the state capital at an occasion to mark the 2015/2016 Legal Year of the judiciary, said the state government would not use the taxes of workers to pay those who “chose to stay at home for months on a strike that is ill-informed.”
Oshiomhole maintained that the law made it clear that a worker who went on a strike would forfeit his wage.
“Under Convention 98 of the ILO, it states clearly that you have a right to go on strike, otherwise, it is slave labour but the Trade Union Act is very clear that notwithstanding any reason, if you embark on a strike, you forfeit your wages. That is the law, that is the convention and this convention has been domesticated in our labour laws and I ask you to look at all the provisions taken together in the various Trade Dispute Acts and Amendment Act, you not only forfeit your wages, you forfeit your seniority and you can be dismissed summarily,” he stated.
“This is the law and the business of the court is to interprete the law without fear even if the litigant is an officer of the court. The court is not a respecter of its own employees, so it must dispense justice even if it doesn’t favour the officers of the High Court and that is what we have taken note to do.
“I ask my Lord privately when he was pushing for this case and I put it here. At what point does it become acceptable that we resort to illegal tools in pursuance of legal ends? Can you seek legal ends resorting to illegal means? That is resorting to self-help and if other groups resort to self-help, the first casualty will be the judiciary. Survival of the fittest, everybody will go for cutlass,” the governor added.
Oshiomhole continued: “So I ask that JUSUN must run the union within the provisions of the Trade Union Act and within the provisions of the Trade Dispute Acts and if they exceed those boundaries, there are consequences. I can’t take taxpayers money which we have to fight to collect even from senior lawyers. But when we have compelled them and get the naira, then I go and give it to a JUSUN worker who is at home on a self-imposed holiday.
“There would be more honour in vacating the office than to make compensation because even the Bible says that he who does not work does not deserve to eat. Wages are not gifts offered by a kind employer, they are a consequence of work. Edo State government will not pay wages for people who chose to go on holiday, otherwise, we will have to redefine law and order,” he stressed.