NATIONAL UNION OF CHEMICAL & NON-METALLIC PRODUCTS WORKERS AND DELTA GLASS COMPANY LIMITED (NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT) J HON. JUSTICE (CHIEF) P.A. ATILADE - PRESIDENT M.A. BORISADE, ESQ. - MEMBER B.N. OBUA, ESQ - MEMBER SUIT NO: - NIC/9/87 DATE OF JUDGMENT - FRIDAY, 22ND JULY, 1988. LABOUR LAW - National Industrial Court - Status and happenings in a company – Power of to take judicial notice of. LABOUR LAW - Terminal entitlements - Payment of to workers whose appointments were validly terminated - When court will order. LABOUR LAW - Trade dispute - Suspension of worker - Worker against whom allegation is made - Power of employer to suspend to enable it investigate the allegation. LABOUR LAW - Suspension of worker - Worker against whom allegation is made - Power of employer to suspend to enable it investigate the allegation. TRADE DISPUTE - Lock-out of workers - Workers chased out by policemen invited by employer to safeguard lives and properties - Whether constitutes lock-out. ISSUES: 1. Whether the workers were on strike on 10th January, 1986 or they were lock-out by the management. 2. Whether the suspension and subsequent termination of the appointment of Mr. Lawrence Ukhun was justified. 3. Whether the termination of the appointment of the 105 workers was justified. FACTS: There was an allegation of poor quantity and quality of food in the workers canteen made by the 1st Party. This had to demand for the removal of the canteen. As a result, the chairman was suspended on 10th January, 1986, and his appointment subsequently terminated on February, 1986. When on 10th January, 1986 the workers saw the union chairman being pushed out of the premises, they demonstrated his support. The workers came out of their work places and locked the entrance gate of the factory. The police later moved into the premises and chased the workers out of the factory premises. Later management issued circular letter stating that workers who were willing to work should return and that any person who did not show up on or before 13th January, 1986, would be regarded as one who had abandoned his job. Some workers returned while others did not. The management therefore terminated the appointments of those who refused to return. The dispute was referred to the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP), which made its award. Both parties felt unhappy with the IAP's award and lodged objections against same. The dispute was therefore referred to the National Industrial Court. HELD: (Dismissing the appeal, but granting payment of terminal entitlements): 1. On Power of employer to suspend a worker to enable it investigate allegation against the worker - An employer can suspend a worker to enable the management to investigate any allegation against such worker, in compliance with the company's condition of service. 2. On Whether employer's action in inviting policemen to safeguard lives and property in its premises constitutes lock out of workers - The action of management in inviting policemen into the company's premises as a preventive measure to safeguard lives and property does not constitute a lockout of workers. 3. On When court would order payment of terminal entitlement to worker where appointments were validly terminated - Where the court concludes that a company acted fairly in terminating the appointments of its staff, the court would still order the affected workers their terminal entitlements in addition to payment in lieu of notice, pay in lieu of earned leave and leave allowance, where applicable, and have not been paid. 4. On Power of court to take judicial notice of status of a company and happenings in the company- The court can take judicial notice that a company is a big employer of labour in an area, and that happenings in the company are therefore bound to be top news in all the surrounding areas.