UBN: LABOUR BLASTS JUDICIARY OVER RESTRAINING ORDER
By Victor Ahiuma-Young
KADUNA-ORGANISED labour is not taking lightly Friday's National Industrial Court, NIC, restraining order slammed on Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, its affiliates and agents from disrupting the operations of Union Bank of Nigeria, UBN, Plc nationwide.
The National Executive Council, NEC, of NLC, had last week resolved to picket offices of UBN across the country from February 14 through 18, following the withdrawal of recognition of the Bank's unit of Association of Senor Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, affiliated to NLC.
Reacting to the order, an affiliate of NLC, the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, advised Judiciary to stop giving frivolous anti-labour judgements.
In a statement by its General Secretary, Comrade Issa Aremu, the union argued that NLC planned action was a legitimate NLC's reaction to the decision of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. to unilaterally withdraw recognition of ASSBIFI, an affiliate of NLC, and in-house union, Union Bank Association of Senior Staff, UBASS.
Comrade Aremu who is also a Vice President of NLC, said: 'Judges must promote justice to all, not cheap judgement to a few corporate bodies. The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, is never a party to any case before the National Industrial Court, NIC.
'How then can the court unilaterally grant feverish injunction restraining NLC from carrying out legitimate duty to her members?
'The Judiciary in particular the National Industrial Court, NIC, and Industrial Arbitration Panel, IAP, should not be willing tools to undermine the rights of workers as sanctioned by the International Labour Organisation, ILO, which Nigeria is a signatory.
'Only workers know which union should represent them and not the employers. The Union Bank management has a lot of responsibilities to reposition 'a big, strong and reliable Bank' of Nigeria.'
The management should therefore avoid unnecessary trouble_over_load by dabbling into internal trade union issues in place of its core banking functions.'
'The current management of the bank led by Mrs. Funke Osibodu started on a good note through negotiation with the very ASSBIFI it now turns around to disown. We urge the management to return to the path of dialogue to resolve outstanding labour matters, recall sacked 13 unionists and abandon court judgement of dubious value. The point cannot be over_emphasized that frivolous judgements and injunctions cannot run Union Bank or any establishment for that matter. What will run the bank are the happy and well_motivated unionised workers.
Union Bank should return to the process of collective bargaining with the unions as NLC will not respect any frivolous judgement or injunction. Nigeria Judiciary already has enough crisis of confidence. NIC Judges dare not compound the problems of the Judiciary.'