The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday ordered the National Teachers Institute (NTI) to give recognition to the Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU).
The Judge, Justice Oluseun Shogbola, gave the order while delivering judgment in a case filed against NTI and its Director-General for refusing to give recognition to NASU.
Shogbola held that the refusal of the Institute and its Director-General to give recognition to NASU was a violation of the provision of Section 12(1) of the Trade Union Act.
She also held that the defendants violated the provisions of Section 40 of the 1999 constitution by restraining employees from joining any trade union relevant to their profession.
Shogbola also declared that NASU was the only union that was eligible under the law to operate within the organisation of the defendant.
She, therefore, ordered the defendants to commence deduction of check-off dues from the members’ salaries and remit same to NASU and that it was the statutory duty of defendants to do so.
Shogbola also gave an order restraining the defendant from victimising any employee who is a member of the union.
During the hearing, counsel to the defendants, Miss Oluwakemi Balogun, argued that membership of a trade union was voluntary and that the NTI workers were not members of the claimant.
Balogun also argued that the claimant was imposing its membership on the defendant’s employees, an act which is against the provision of Section 12 of the Trade Union Act.
NAN reports that Section 12 of the Trade Union Act provides for voluntary membership of the Union by employees.
Balogun urged the court to dismiss the suit, arguing that there was no evidence to prove that the employees of the defendant were members of the claimant.
The claimant’s counsel, Mr Rotimi Ogunjide, argued that once a trade union is registered, any worker who is eligible irrespective of his/her location becomes an automatic member of that union.
He also contended that if such an employee wishes to denounce membership of a union, such a person could do so as an individual and not in group.
Ogunjide commended the court for being considerate in its judgment.