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Industrial Court orders Nigerian Breweries to pay Ex-staff Olumide Ashiru’s N2.4m redundancy benefit within 30 days

993 Thursday 14th January 2021

Ibadan---The presiding Judge, Ibadan Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Dele Peters has ordered Nigerian Breweries Plc to pay her former staff Mr Olumide Ashiru the sum of Two Million, Four Hundred and Sixty-Eight Thousand Two Hundred and Ninety-Eight Naira as redundancy benefit and the sum of N200,000 cost of action within 30 days.

The court held that the Nigerian Breweries argument that the disengagement letters issued to Olumide Ashiru was done in error holds no water, dismissed Ashiru’s other entitlement claims for lack of proof.

From facts, the claimant’s - Olumide Ashiru had submitted that on July 2015 he received disengagement letter and some of his outstanding payments were not computed as an accrued benefit; that on the same day he demanded for his payment, he received a phone call telling him that management had asked to return the disengagement letter and when he requested for the reason he was told not to bother. The aftermath of this, he reached out to his superior who advised him to follow the terms of the letter and handover accordingly which he did.

That all effort to get his benefits proved abortive that the company has refused and/or neglected to pay the said calculated sum into his Bank account.

In defence, the Nigerian Breweries submitted that Ashiru’s was told that the letter of disengagement was recalled because it was mistakenly addressed to him and had been withdrawn that he was paid salaries for July and August 2015 and hence Ashiru’s is estopped from contending that he was no longer a staff of the firm.

The learned Counsel U. Ihediwa with Malachy Omeye Esq objected that court lack the jurisdiction to entertain the matter on the ground that all the processes filed by the claimant were not sealed with the seal of a Legal Practitioner that proper processes are not before the Court, urged the honourable court to dismiss the case with a cost.

In opposition, the claimant’s learned counsel Atinuke Ibidapo-Adebajo Esq submitted that failure to affix NBA Stamp and Seal does not nullify claims of the Claimant urged the Court to grant all the reliefs sought in the interest of justice.

After scrutiny of the submissions of both parties, the trial Judge, Justice Dele dismissed the objection and affirmed the court jurisdiction to hear the matter.

“Let me state that the argument that the exhibit was issued in error is of no moment. The fact remains that the Defendant as the employer of the Claimant at the time was in possession of both the Knife and the Yam. The Defendant for reason stated decided to reduce its workforce. It determined the workforce to be affected.

“It was not open to the Claimant as an employee to refuse to accept his letter of disengagement.

“Without the input of the Claimant, the Defendant sent him disengagement letter untimely sending him to the unemployment market. Claimant acted on the exhibit by handing over to the appropriate authority at the Defendant.” 

On the claim for gratuity and outstanding benefits in nature of accrued depot float, Annual leave bonus and Saturday work pay from January to June 2015, the court dismissed the claims and held that both the statement of facts and the Reply to the statement of defence did not make any reference to it and evidence was also not led in support of the same.  

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