Justice Isaac Essien of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Lagos Judicial division has granted an order restraining the Iron Products Industries Ltd, its agents, servants or privies from forcing the employees of Iron Steel Products Ltd to join any Union or Association against their will, or terminating of their employment for failure to join a trade union or association of whatever name.
The Court held that the firm coercion and intimidation of the employees to join a union contrary to their will is unlawful and unconstitutional, restrained the union from deducting their salaries for the purpose of payment of any union dues.
From facts, the claimants- Mr. Adedotun Shile (Suing for himself and on behalf of employees of Iron Steel Products Ltd.) had submitted that they were members of the Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria [SEWUN] but withdrew their membership from the Union sometime in 2010.
Further that since 2014 they have been receiving threats of dismissal from the firm for refusal to join the union that if the Defendant is not restrained from carrying out the threat to dismiss the workers for refusal to join the union, the workers may lose their jobs and will be denied their means of livelihood urged the Court to grant the reliefs sought.
In defence, the defendant argued that the firm is not unmindful of the constitutional provision and the Labour Act which abhors coercion and allows freedom of Association urged the court to protect the interest of the defendant from the danger of the claimants refusal to join SEWUN.
Delivering the judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Isaac Essien held that the acts of the defendant is in breach of the provisions of the Constitution and the Trade Union Act which outlaws any attempt to force an employee to be a member of a trade union or be victimised for refusing to join or remain a member of a trade union.