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By NBF News
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LAGOS-An application by Zenith Bank Plc to discontinue a N970 million suit before Justice Kola Olalere of National Industrial Court, NIC, Lagos, filed by 97 of its sacked employees, has been dismissed.

The bank, in its preliminary objection, had challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit by its employees. But the court awarded N25,000 cost against the bank.

Ruling on the preliminary objection, Justice Olalere said the objection raised by the bank lacked merit, adding 'by the combined effect of Order 4 Rule 2 of the National Industrial Court 2007 and Section 13 of the NIC Act 2006, this court has the jurisdiction to hear the suit.'

The 97 sacked employees had approached the court, through their lawyer, asking for N10 million payments as compensation to each of them over what they described as wrongful termination of their appointments with the bank.

The employees, in their claim, said they had worked with the bank for between five and 10 years and were not promoted, adding that People Plus Management Service Limited (one of the defendants) allegedly terminated their employment when they agitated for a fair labour practice devoid of discrimination.

They stated that the alleged transfer of their employment to People Plus Management was done under coercion and without their approval, asking the court to declare that their disengagement by People Plus Management was null and void, illegal and invalid.