NIGERIAN BREWERIES LIMITED AND NATIONAL UNION OF FOOD, BEVERAGES AND TOBACCO EMPLOYEES (NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT) HON. JUSTICE (CHIEF) P.A. ATILADE - PRESIDENT ALHAJI Z.M. BELLO - MEMBER M.A. BORISADE, ESQ. - MEMBER SUIT NO: - NIC/3/87 DATE OF JUDGMENT - 5TH APRIL, 1989. LABOUR LAW - Misconduct - What constitutes - Shouting at a superior – Use of abusive language on a superior - Whether constitute misconduct. LABOUR LAW - Termination of appointment - Single, isolated act of misconduct - Whether warrants termination of appointment. LABOU RLAW - Trade union - Trade union official -Amenability of to discipline by employer -Whether liable to be proceeded like any other employee if guilty of misconduct. LABOUR LAW - Trade union - Trade union official - Duties of - Duty to behave in restrained and responsible manner. LABOUR LAW - Trade union - Trade union official - Status of - Whether licence to show disrespect to superior. TRADE UNION LAW - Trade union - Trade union official -Amenability of to discipline by employer -Whether liable to be proceeded like any other employee if guilty of misconduct. TRADE UNION LAW - Trade union - Trade union official - Duties- Duty to behave in restrained arc responsible manner. TRADE UNION LAW - Trade union - Trade union official - Status of - Whether licence to show disrespect to superior. ISSUES: 1. Whether Mr. Adesina acted in pursuance of the interest of the members of his union on the 14th December, 1984. 2. Whether the behaviour of Mr. E.A. Adesina during the period in question is a misconduct serious enough to deserve punishment. 3. Whether the termination of Mr. Adesina's appointment was appropriate in the circumstances of the case. FACTS: Mr. E.A. Adesina was the unit chairman of the Respondent in the Appellant company. On the said 14th December, 1984, during a night shift (10pm - 6am) Mr. Adesina used abusive language on a superior, as a result his appointment was terminated by the Appellant. The Respondent attempted to resolve the matter with the Appellant, but to no avail. The Appellant consequently declared a trade dispute, which was referred to the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) for arbitration. The IAP after hearing the case, ordered the Appellant to reinstate Mr. Adesina to his employment. The Appellant was dissatisfied with the IAP award and objected thereto. The dispute was therefore referred to the National Industrial Court for adjudication. HELD: (Dismissing the appeal): 1. On Duty of union leader to behave in a restrained and responsible manner and amenability of to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the employer - A workman who is an office bearer of a union is first of all an employee, and as such bound to behave in a disciplined manner and is amenable to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the employer. In fact, he ought to behave in a much more restrained and responsible manner than an ordinary worker. The workman because he is an office-bearer of a union does not enjoy any special privilege or immunity, and if he is guilty of misconduct he is liable to be proceeded against just as any other workman. 2. On Whether an employee's status as a union leader a licence to show disrespect to superior- The fact that an employee is a union leader does not give the employee a licence to show disrespect to his superior. 3. On What constitutes misconduct which is punishable - Shouting at a supervisor, or the use of abusive language on a superior by a worker, is a misconduct which is punishable. 4. On Whether a single, isolated act of misconduct would warrant termination of appointment- A single, isolated act of misconduct in a career spanning 10 years without blemish should not warrant the termination of appointment; more so, when the worker concerned, in answer to a query on the misconduct, apologized for engaging in same.