His Lordship, Hon. Justice Polycarp Hamman of the National Industrial Court, Portharcourt Judicial division has declared the summary dismissal of Moses Mina from service of the Unity Bank Plc as wrongful and not in line with the terms of his employment.
The Court held that having not embedded the collective agreement into the terms of the contract, same was not binding on the parties and the bank was wrong to have relied on same to summarily dismiss the Moses from service.
From facts, the claimant-Moses informed the court that he was given letter of suspension from duty on 12th of June, 2009, and while serving the suspension he received the letter of summary dismissal dated 8th September, 2009. That these disciplinary actions were on the bases of allegation against him and the FT Officer due to the ‘exception on a foreign exchange’.
That himself and FTO appeared before a panel and were informed that the panel was only interested in the alleged threat to the IC Officer which was not stated in the letter of suspension and no evidence of the said telephone conversation was given.
According to the Claimant, the Collective Agreement referred to in the letter of summary dismissal is not contained in the Handbook and therefore not part of the terms of his employment, urged the Court to grant reliefs sought.
However, the defendant-Union Bank submitted that all disciplinary and fair opportunities were given to the claimant before his suspension and subsequent dismissal from service. That the dismissal was in accordance with the Employee’s Handbook and the Collective Agreement and all the procedural requirements were adhered to before his dismissal from service.
Stated further that the suit which was filed on 3rd September 2015 was not commenced within the period of limitation law of Rivers State urged the Court to decline jurisdiction and to dismiss the instant suit in its entirety for want of proof.
In reply, claimant counsel argued that cause of action arose in Benin City Edo State and not Rivers State, that the Limitation Law of Rivers State does not apply to the instant suit urged the court to dismiss the Bank submission.
Delivering judgment, the trial Judge, Justice Hamman held that the cause of action occurred in Benin City Edo State that the Rivers State Limitation Law does not apply in the circumstances of the case and the Limitation Law of Edo State provides for six years within which to commence an action that the matter was filed within the limitation period.
“The position of the law regarding the enforceability of collective agreements have been numerously stated in a legion of cases in this country, and it is the law that for such an agreement to bind an employee, it must be incorporated either expressly or impliedly into the employee’s contract of employment.
“I have gone through the Letter of appointment issued to the claimant by Unity Bank Plc), the offer of appointment issued to the claimant by Bank of the North Limited) and the Employee Handbook), and found out that none of these exhibits made reference either expressly or impliedly to the provisions of any collective agreement as forming part of the terms of the claimant’s contract with the Defendant.
“I, therefore, hold that having not embedded the collective agreement into the terms of the Claimant’s contract, same was not binding on the parties and the defendant was wrong to have relied on same to summarily dismiss the claimant from service. I so find and hold.” Justice Hamman Ruled.
The court awarded the sum of 200,000 in favour of the Claimant.