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Labour-trade union feud still pending in court

By on April 28, 2011

The feud between the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) over the two factions of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and other Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) is still pending at the National Industrial Court.


The two unions are embroiled in a battle of wits over where the union belongs. A faction claims it belongs to NLC while another is claiming affiliation to the NLC.

Sunday Salako, president, ASSBIFI, under the TUC, said the NLC ASSBIFI faction, especially those in Union Bank “left our camp since 2004 and have since been on their own. When they were here, they used to have the highest number of staff members then, so there was this thinking that they must produce the president of the association during any elections and then there was a fall out. They say they are with NLC, and we are not. So that is what happened.

He said the workers withdrew from the association when they anticipated that because they had the largest unit of attendance, they should always produce the president of the union and hence, there have been legal issues over why they still maintained the name of the union, instead of getting a new one.

The matter, along with other subsisting disagreement, was referred to the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) for arbitration. The IAP confirmed the existence of inter union dispute in ASSBIFI and advised both parties to return to the 2007 agreement.

Obukese Orere, general secretary of the NLC faction of ASSBIFI, had earlier said the constitution allows people to belong to any union they choose and that people who say TUC is the umbrella body for senior staff are not totally right.

Delay not healthy

The delay in resolving this issue, however, has been proven to be harmful to member banks and ultimately, the welfare of bank workers.

In February, the dispute between both parties reached its peak when Union Bank banned its chapter of ASSBIFI on grounds that it was not properly affiliated.

At the height of the bank’s misunderstanding with its workers, it issued a statement that “Following the unlawful operations of UBASS (Union Bank Association of Senior Staff) and ASSBIFI (Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and other Financial institutions), Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has withdrawn its recognition of the above named trade union bodies with immediate effect. All concerned have been duly advised. The general public should please take note.”

Following this, the NLC embarked on a nationwide picketing of the 94-year old institution, basically disrupting its operations for several days. The Congress said it is not the duty of Mrs Osibodu to de-recognise ASSBIFI, its affiliate, or any industrial union since there are statutory bodies in place to regulate trade union activities.

“On the legality or otherwise of ASSBIFI, we wish to unequivocally state that the dispute is still pending at the Industrial Arbitration Panel (AIP) and no judgement has been delivered up to this moment to warrant the unfortunate and totally contemptuous decision of the Union Bank management,” the labour union had said.

The matter was, however, resolved after the minister of labour waded in and advised the bank to accede to the demands of the union.

Industry watchers and banks have said they would not be part of what is happening until the issues are legally addressed.

Source : 234next