4 February 2011
UNION BANK: INDUSTRIAL COURT RETRAINTS NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS
The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has restrained the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), its affiliates and agents from disrupting the operations of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc nationwide.
In a Suit No. NIC/LA/01/2011, the Court granted an order of Interim injunction restraining the (Defendant/Respondent) Nigeria Labour Congress, directly or indirectly through its agents, privies, affiliates representatives or any other person(s) from carrying out its threat as contained in its letter of January 17, 2011 to Union Bank pending the hearing and determination of the Bank’s motion on notice dated January 20, 2011.
The President of National Industrial Court, Honourable Justice B.A. Adejumo OFR, having gone through the motion expert, the affidavit in support and affidavit of urgency, reasoned that irreparable damage will be done to the bank as well as its numerous customers across the country if this order of interim reliefs is not granted.
“I am of the view that this is one of the cases that the matter of urgency, balance of convenience and quantum of damage that may be suffered are to be taken into consideration if justice is to be done to the parties” the Judge ruled.
The order also restrained Nigeria Labour Congress from obstructing or instigating any strike action or picketing action against the bank pending the hearing and determination of the bank’s motion on notice adjourned to 10 February, 2011.
It would be recalled that following legal advice received early this year by the bank Management on the legal status of Association of Senor Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) affiliated to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Union Bank withdrew recognition of ASSBIFI NLC affiliate and their in-house Union in order not to contravene the Trade Union Act cap T14 LFN 2004. This decision was communicated to ASSBIFI and their in-house unit known as Union Bank Association of Senior Staff (UBASS) as well as the Federal Ministry of Labour & Productivity, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the security agencies.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) subsequently in a letter dated 17th January 2011 threatened to embark on a strike to force Management to rescind the decision and gave a 7 day ultimatum. Management in response on 21st January 2011 wrote to the NLC explaining the reasons for its action and also took the precaution of filing a complaint at the Nigeria Industrial Court (NIC) on 20th January 2011 seeking orders to restrain the NLC from implementing their threat.
The Honourable Minster of Labour & Productivity invited the NLC (and ASSBIFI NLC affiliate) and the bank Management for a meeting on 28th January 2011 to discuss the issue and other grievances which the ASSBIFI NLC affiliates had presented. Both parties at the meeting were enjoined by the Honourable Minister to attend a follow up meeting on 1st February 2011 with documentary evidence to support their claims and position on the issues to facilitate resolution.
The NLC boycotted the meeting which was meant to demonstrate Union Bank’s desire to amicably resolve all the issues at stake and to reiterate its labour friendly disposition.
Francis D Barde