By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The National Industrial Court, has authentic Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) and National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA) as trade unions.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), dragged the Minister of Labour and Employment, The Registrar, Trade Union, CONUA and NAMDA as first, second, third and fourth defendants respectively.
Delivering judgment, Justice Benedict Kanyip held that in line with the International Labour Organisation ( ILO) Act, there can be more than one trade union within an employment.
The judge in addition stated that contrary to claimant’s submission that Section 3 ( 2) of Trade Union Act made the first and second defendants incompetent to register CONUA and NAMDA to coexist and carry out same functions in the universities as ASUU.
Kanyip said that the Section does not encourage monopoly of trade unions, but rather the section encourages existence of other trade unions.
The court said “the reliefs prayed by the claimant failed, refused and I so hold. I make no order as to cost”
The claimant counsel, Mr Femi Falana SAN, submitted two questions for determination.
Part of the question was whether by Section 4 (2) of the constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended and Section 3 (2) of TUA, the second defendant can register CONUA and NAMDA to carry out the same functions covering the same jurisdiction sphere as the claimant.
The counsel further averred that the second and third defendants registered the third and fourth defendants in a bid to split ASUU.
The first and second defendants in reply submitted that the court should determine whether the issues raised by the claimant were not speculative and academic.
The third defendant on its part raised three issues that bordered on whether the claimant put before the court any proof, whether the claimant’s suit was not liable to be dismissed and whether the third and fourth defendants were not legally registered.
The fourth defendant submitted for the determination of the court whether there was any violation in the registration of the two unions.
According to the court, the claimant gave evidence of this assertion from an online publication titled ” FG registers 2 new university unions in a bid to split ASUU”.
Although the fourth defendant objected to the admissibility of the publication in evidence, stating that the publication was a hearsay evidence, the court however dismissed the objection and allowed the admissibility as Exhibit 1.
The court also held that the fourth defendant was not registered as a trade union until Jan.11, collected the certificate of registration on Jan. 13 and formally completed all processes to be registered as a trade union on Jan.17, 2023.
The court therefore ruled that as at June 26,2022 when the claimant filed the suit, the fourth defendant was not in existence.