FOOTWEAR, LEATHER AND RUBBER PRODUCTS WORKERS OF NIGERIA AND MANAGEMENT OF STANDARD PACKAGING NIGERIA LIMITED (NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT) HON. JUSTICE (CHIEF) P.A. ATILADE - PRESIDENT ALHAJI Z.M, ESQ. - MEMBER B.N. OBUA, ESQ. - MEMBER SUIT NO: - NIC/13/87 DATE OF JUDGMENT - WEDNESDAY, 14TH SEPTEMBER, 1988. LABOUR LAW - Redundancy benefits - Termination of workers' appointment in redundancy circumstances - Right of affected workers to be paid redundancy benefits. LABOUR LAW - Termination of appointment - Termination on ground of criminal allegation - Onus on employer to prove criminal allegation beyond reasonable doubt -Failure to so do - Duty on court. LABOUR LAW - Trade union - Check-off system - Commencement and operation of in a company - When appropriate. LABOUR LAW - Trade union - Membership of - Unionization of workers in a company - Trade group to which workers belong - Duty on trade union to ascertain. TRADE UNION LAW - Check-off system - Commencement and operation of in a company - When appropriate. TRADE UNION LAW - Trade union - Membership of - Unionization of -Workers in a company - Trade group to which workers belong - Duty on trade union to ascertain. ISSUES: 1. Whether the company was right not to accord recognition to the Appellant, having regard to section 22(1) of the Trade Unions (Amendment) Act, No.22 of 1978, and whether it was right that check-off system was not in operation in the company. 2. Whether the laid-off workers should not be entitled to redundancy benefits in accordance with section 19 of the Labour Decree No.21 of 1974. FACTS: The Appellant attempted to unionize the Respondent's workers, but the company believed the Appellant was not the proper union their workers should belong. Meanwhile, the Respondent terminated the appointments of some of its workers including some union leaders, under redundancy conditions but refused to pay them redundancy benefits. The Appellant therefore declared a trade dispute, which was referred to the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) for arbitration. The IAP in its award made "no award" in respect of the issues in dispute. Dissatisfied, the Appellant lodged an objection to the IAP award. Consequently, the dispute was referred to the National Industrial Court. HELD: (Allowing the appeal): 1. On Duty on trade union to ascertain the trade group workers belong before unionizing workers - The Trade Unions (Amendment) Decree No.22 of 1978 did not stipulate that any union could move into a company and start unionizing the workers without ascertaining the trade group to which such workers belong. If that were so, it would have been a negation of the trade union restructuring exercise, which took place in 1976. 2. On Commencement and operation of “check-off'” system in a company- According to the Labour (Amendment) Decree No.21 of 1978, check-off system is automatic and should take off as soon as the appropriate union assumes unionization and operation in a company. 3. On Onus on company terminating workers' appointments on grounds of criminal allegations - Criminal allegations against workers should not be the basis of termination of their appointments, unless the company can prove the criminal allegations beyond reasonable doubt. In the instant case, the appointments of Respondents' staff were Terminated on the grounds of confidential information received from another company but the company could not prove the criminal allegations against them beyond reasonable doubt. In the circumstances, the court ruled that they be paid redundancy benefits. 4. On Rights of workers laid off in redundancy circumstances to be paid redundancy benefits - Where workers are laid-off on grounds of redundancy they should be paid redundancy benefits, otherwise the termination exercise will be a violation of section 19 of the Labour Decree No.21 of 1974, and the court will order that the staff whose appointments are terminated should be treated as redundancy cases and paid redundancy benefits.