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Aggrieved ex-workers get court’s nod for substituted service on firm




The Court of Appeal, Lagos, has granted leave to former employees of Zapata Marine Services Nigeria Limited to serve the motion for extension of time, within which they may appeal the decision of the National Industrial Court (NIC) delivered on November 25, 2008 to the respondent, Tidex Nigeria Limited.

The court, comprising Justice S. D. Bage (presiding), Justice O. A. Obaseki and Justice J.Y. Tukur also ordered the workers to post the hearing notice on the known address of Tidex Nigeria Limited at 2 Mosafejo Close, off Queen’s Drive, Ikoyi, Lagos as a substituted means of service.

According to the motion ex-parte for substituted service dated April 12, 2016 and filed by the chambers of Norrison Quakers (SAN), the motion for extension and hearing notices were meant to be served personally on the respondent.

Citing the grounds for the reliefs sought, the appellants said: “The Bailiff of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, Marshal Comic had deposed to an affidavit of non-service stating that he made attempts to serve the court process personally on the respondent, but to no avail.

“It is important to serve the respondent with the court process to bring the application to its notice. The leave of this court is required for the appellants to serve the respondent by substituted means in order to bring the application and hearing date to their notice.

“The appellants are desirous of prosecuting the appeal so as not to foreclose the redress/judicial remedy sought.”

The workers are appealing against the decision of the NIC, which dismissed their $56 million claim against Tidex Nigeria Limited.

The former workers had approached the NIC, seeking an order to compel the respondent to pay them the sum of $56 million profit after tax declared by their former employers (Zapata) before the company was taken over by Tidex. The $56m claim is the ten per cent of the total profit of $560m declared by Zapata.

But the NIC in its judgment delivered by Justice Babatunde Adejumo (presiding), Justice Justice B. Kanyip and Justice V.N Okobi dismissed the appellant’s entire claims.

The plaintiff had argued that they had an agreement with Zapata to open a Workers Trust Fund which would entitle employees who had stayed up to 30 years with the company to benefit from 10 per cent of its profit, as well as in the event of its winding up as was the case when Tidex took over.

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