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Arbitration panel orders  Intels to pay 624 sacked maritime workers

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An Industrial Arbitration Court (IAB) panel constituted by the Minister of Labour has recommended that Intel’s Nigeria Limited should pay the 624 workers who are members of the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) that were sacked between 2020and early 2021.

In a statement signed by the President General of the union, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, the panel recommended N300,000  for each worker who have completed five years of service and above.

N1,500,000 lump sum to be paid to redundant staff/workers who have completed 1-4 years of service; forthwith, redundant workers with less than one year, but have spent a minimum of six months in service shall be paid on prorated basis, forthwith.

The panel also recommended that the contractual relationship between the 2nd and 3rd parties still subsists in all matters relating to, and concerning the award in the proceedings.

The panel declared that the practice where an employer obtains a restraining order against strike by its workers and proceeds, during the subsistence of the restraining order, to declare the restrained workers redundant and terminated is nothing but an unfair labour practice.

“The 2nd and 3rd parties thus in the conduct of redundancy exercises of 2nd April, 2021, and 15th June, 2021 engaged in unfair labour practice.”

Full details of the statement read, “The leadership of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), wishes to use this medium to inform you of the ruling of Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) constituted by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige to look into the trade dispute between MWUN and INTELS over the sack of more than 624 of our members between late 2020 and early 2021.

“After a protracted battle, we are pleased to inform you that IAP has ruled in the favour of the Union and made the following declarations.

The IAP ruling was communicated to the Union through a letter dated   September 13, 2021, by Mrs O . U Akpan, Director, Trade Union Services and Industrial Relations, on behalf of the Dr. Ngige.
Below is the IAP ruling as communicated to the Union:
In accordance with the provision of Section 13(2) of the Trade Dispute Act CAP T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, notice is hereby given that the Award made by Industria! Arbitration Panel (IAP) in the trade dispute between Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and the Management of Messrs Intels Nig. Ltd/ Associated Maritime Services (AMS) has now been communicated to the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment.

2. The Panel, in the exercise of the power conferred on it by Section 9 (3) of the Trade Disputes Act, CAP T8, LFN, 2004 accordingly constituted an Arbitration Tribunal which after full and careful consideration of the facts and circumstances surrounding the dispute gave an Award as follows:

3. FINDINGS ;

“The findings of the tribunal are as follows:

-1. Redundancy exercise conducted by 2nd and 3rd parties on the 30th November, 2020 affected 599 contract staff seconded by 3rd party who are members of 1st party

2. Redundancy exercises respectively conducted by 2nd and 3rd parties on 2nd April, 2021 and 15th June, 2021 affected respectively, 8 and 17 contract  staff seconded by 3rd party to 2nd party who are members of 1st party.

While both took place during the pendency of a suit filed by 2nd party at National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICN, the later took place during the pendency of the dispute in this tribunal.

-3. The relationship between 2nd and 3rd party is that of principal and agent  which contractual relationship. subsists till date

4.The 2nd party has and exercises overriding control over the contract staff by giving directives to the 3rd party on matters of recruitment, conditions, and terminations of employment, including payment of terminal benefits.

5. 1st, 2nd and 3rd parties jointly negotiate and review conditions of service and produce communique’ containing among other things the agreement reached on extra gratuity and other matters.

6. The 2nd party approves and funds all payments made by the 3rd party to contract staff The 2nd party directs the third party to declare the affected workers redundant, which directive is carried out by 3rd party who issues the terminal letters

8. Payment of extra gratuity in the industry had existed for long, and 2nd party usually paid in previous redundancies based on tripartite negotiated agreement by 1st 2nd and 3rd parties.

4. AWARD .

In the light of all the foregoing, particularly the findings above, the tribunal proceeds to make the following Award:

i. All the contract staff/ employees seconded by the 3rd party to the 2nd party under their labour management contract namely; 599 contract staff affected by redundancy exercise conducted on November 30th 2020, 8 contract staff affected by redundancy exercise conducted on 2nd February, 2021, and 17 contract staff affected by the redundancy exercise conducted on June 15, 2021, are employees of the 2nd party; Intels Nig. Ltd.

ii. All the contract staff employees seconded by the 3rd party under their labour management contract namely; 599 contract staff affected by the redundancy exercise conducted on November 30th 2020, 8 contract staff affected by redundancy exercise conducted on 2nd, April, 2021 and 17 contract staff affected by redundancy exercise conducted on June 15, 2021 by 2nd and 3rd parties, are each entitled to be paid extra gratuity in addition to their terminal benefits by the 2rd party through the 3rd party; forthwith.

iii. The mode of calculation of extra gratuity to be paid by the 2nd party through the third party shall be:
a. N300, 000.00 (three hundred thousand naira) for each completed year of service to redundant workers who have completed five (5) years of service and above; forthwith

b. N1, 500,000 (one million five hundred thousand naira) lump – sum to redundant staff/workers who have completed 1-4 years of service; forthwith.

C. Redundant workers with less than one year, but have spent a minimum of six months in service shall be paid on prorated basis, forthwith.

iv. The contractual relationship between the 2nd and 3rd parties still subsists in all matters relating to, and concerning this Award in the proceedings.

The practice where an employer obtains a restraining order against strike by its worker,s and proceeds, during the subsistence of the restraining order, to declare the restrained workers redundant and terminated is nothing but an unfair labour practice. The 2nd and 3rd parties thus in the conduct of redundancy exercises of 2nd April, 2021, and 15th June, 2021 engaged in unfair labour practice.”

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