Ibadan---The Presiding Judge of Ibadan Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Dele Peters has declared that the Executive members of Registered Trustee of Quarry Products Sellers, Marketers & Logistic Provider Association cannot issue tickets of whatever sum to members of the Nigerian Union of Mine Workers as purported members of the association, issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the association, privies or any person acting for or on their behalf from operating in or disturbing the operation of the Mine Workers Union in any quarry or extraction sites in Oyo State.
The Court held that Registered Trustee of Quarry Products Sellers, Marketers & Logistic Provider Association cannot act as a Trade Union without being registered as same by the Registrar of Trade Unions or other relevant authority in accordance with the Trade Unions Act, further restrained the association, their Agents, privies or anybody acting for or on their behalf from parading themselves as a trade union of workers engaged in the extraction of mines and quarrying.
The Claimants - Nigerian Union of Mine Workers and its Oyo State Council had submitted that NUMW is the recognised Trade Union for workers engaged in quarries and extraction site; that the registration of the Quarry Products Sellers association was processed by their executives after losing out in the Oyo State Council election conducted on 6th April 2019.
That the association and its executives were harassing and intimidating members of the Union, and attempted on several occasions to issue tickets to control the activities of workers engaged in extraction and quarry sites; that there is need for the Hon. Court to define the jurisdiction scope of the Union urged the Court to grant the reliefs sought.
In opposition, the defendants averred that the election of the Oyo State Council of the Union conducted was fraught with so many irregularities which compelled them to re-evaluate their position in the Union and after wide consultation with the majority of members, they decided to pull out since the union’s goals do not represent their yearnings and aspirations; that they notified the union in writing about their decision to withdraw their membership although Claimants declined to accept the notification letter.
Counsel to the defendants, Folarin Olanitori with T.O. Deslenu submitted that Registered Trustee of Quarry Products Sellers, Marketers & Logistic Provider Association is duly registered as an Association and has the constitutional right to coordinate the affairs of its members without outside interference by the Claimants and that there will be no dispute between the Claimants and the Defendants on membership affiliation at Quarry sites provided each member is allowed to choose freely where he or she belongs that if Claimants are allowed to continue to collect dues from their members it would be a monumental injustice and an infraction of their right to peaceful assembly and association.
Delivering Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Dele Peters held that the area of operations of the Nigerian Union of Mine Workers is well set out and conferred by the statute and has a statutory flavor that not even a registered trade union will be allowed to encroach into the jurisdiction statutorily conferred on the Nigerian Union of Mine Workers.
"There is no evidence of the alleged withdrawal of membership before me. The law is trite that he who asserts must prove the assertion. The Defendants could have at least produced in evidence a copy of the said letter of notification of withdrawal of membership. The consequence of this for all intents and purposes is that 2nd to 5th Defendants remain members of the 2nd Claimant. To, therefore, allow the Defendants to carry on as proposed constitutes an infringement and encroachment on the areas of jurisdiction of the Claimants.
"Let me equally bring to the fore the fact that issuance of tickets to members by the Defendants would seem to be the major cause of this suit. That activity, that is, issuance of tickets to members is another way of collecting check-off dues from members. Collection of check-off dues is the sole preserve of a registered trade union." Justice Dele Peters
In all, the Court issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants either by themselves, servants, and or agents from intimidating, harassing, interfering, or compelling members of the Union to join the association and/or forcefully issuing tickets to members of the Union as purported members of the association, ordered defendants to forthwith pay to the claimants 100,000 cost of action.