The National Industrial Court has encouraged the National Assembly Service Commission ( NASC) and its workers, the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), to resolve their dispute amicably.
The matter, which came up Tuesday before Justice Ibrahim Galadima for a hearing of the motion on notice, did not proceed.
When the matter was called, the claimant’s counsel, Abdul Ibrahim, informed the court that he received a notice of preliminary objection from the defendant on Monday at about 5:30 p.m. and had not responded.
In addition, Mr Ibrahim said the defendant had not replied to the motion on notice he served.
The defence counsel, G.C Ugwunweze, submitted that his client briefed him over the weekend and the only working day he had to file processes was Monday.
He stated that in addition to the preliminary objection, he filed a memorandum of conditional appearance, as he was questioning the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
Mr Ugwunweze further said he was within time to file a counter-affidavit to the interlocutory injunction and to file the defence to the motion on notice.
He added that the process filed by the claimant was an abuse of the court process.
In response, Mr Ibrahim said only the court could determine whether his process was an abuse of court process.
In addition, he said he prayed for the parties to settle the matter amicably.
He then proceeded to make an oral application that the order made by the court on October 20, restraining the defendant from embarking on strike and that parties should maintain the status quo should subsist.
Mr Ugwunweze replied that he intended to file an application for the order to be discharged as the defendant was not opposed to settlement.
After listening to submissions of counsel, the court ruled that the earlier order subsist and urged parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the motion on notice.
The court also stated that inasmuch as the defendant had the right to embark on strike, it must be done under the ambience of the law.
The court concluded by adjourning the matter until December 12 for a hearing while encouraging parties to resolve their dispute amicably.
The association, which had embarked on a one-week strike in June, had planned another strike for October 20 before the court restrained it.
As part of its demand, the association is asking for payment of arrears of allowances and the full implementation of the National Assembly Conditions of Service.