A Port Harcourt Division of the National industrial court has ordered Baker Hughes Limited and Baker Hughes Incorporated to compile and pay Joshua Umoren 2-week salary per year of service as redundancy benefit.
Justice Zaynab Bashir made the ruling on Friday after listening to arguments from both counsels. She held that findings showed that the firms complied with the contract of employment in terminating Joshua‘s employment but failed to comply with the Labour Act in terms of payment for the redundancy.
Section 20 of the Labour Act speaks on Redundancy. It provides that the employer shall inform the trade union or workers’ representative concerned of reasons for and the extent of the anticipated redundancy.
What happened in court
Mr Umoren, the claimant submitted that he was employed in 1992 and was issued a letter for the termination of his employment and a Notice of Redundancy in 2009. He told the court that the consequences of the firms non-compliance with the provisions of the law on redundancy are unlawful and null and void.
Mr Umoren’s counsel argued that the firms breached the statutory obligation to abide by both national Laws on redundancy for determining his client employment by other means not contained in the Contract.
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The Defence counsel contended that the claimant notice of redundancy showed that he had discussed it with his supervisor and as such, he was not disengaged abruptly or summarily.
He submitted that the claimant was not a member of a trade union while he was employed and as such, the firms could not enter into discussions regarding his impending redundancy.
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The firms prayed the court to dismiss the case on the grounds that it was statute-barred because it was not filed within the 6 years provided by the Limitation Act.
In her judgement, Justice Bashir held that the employment of Joshua Umoren was determined on the basis of redundancy rather than being summarily dismissed.
She said no evidence of payment was made to the claimant tagged ‘Redundancy Payment’. She held that the claimant’s employment was determined on the basis of redundancy rather than being summarily dismissed.
What you should know
- Section 20 of the Labor Act states that “The employer shall inform the trade union or workers’ representative concerned of the reasons for and the extent of the anticipated redundancy;
- (b) The principle of “last in, first out” shall be adopted in the discharge of the particular category of workers affected, subject to all factors of relative merit, including skill, ability and reliability; and
- (c) The employer shall use his best endeavours to negotiate redundancy payments to any discharged workers who are not protected by regulations made under subsection (2) of this section.” The Act reads
While the A part of the section talks about the employer’s obligation to inform the trade union representative of the reason for redundancy, section b implies that workers who have been in contract employment longer will be considered for discharge before the latest workers to come into the employment.