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Court resolves controversies in jurisdictional scope of unions in paper industry

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The National Industrial Court (NIC) has put to an end controversies on jurisdictional scope between workers in the printing and publishing sector. 
 
The controversy on jurisdictional scope is between Association Pulp Paper and Paper Products, Printing and Publishing Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PPAPPPAPSSAN) and National Union of Printing, Publishing and Paper Products Workers (NUPPPPROW). PPAPPPAPSSAN argued that every effort of the union to settle the over two decades of controversies out of court proved abortive. 
 
It said the confusion was capitalised on by employers in the industry to choose which of the two unions to operate in the company rather than having the two simultaneously as provided in labour laws. It said this was in spite of several clarifications by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment on the matter. 

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The senior workers said it was on the consistent refusal of NUPPPPROW to limit its membership to its jurisdictional scope (junior workers) in the industry that forced PPAPPPAPSSAN to approach the NIC to interpret the jurisdictional scope of the two unions in May 2019. 
 
A statement signed by PPAPPPAPSSAN’s National President and General Secretary, Dada Joseph and Benedict Ikegbulam respectively, said the court, presided over by Hon. Justice I. J. Essien in the Suit No NJIC/LA/243/2019 in its judgement delivered on Monday 11th May, 2020, granted PPAPPPAPSSAN all its prayers.
 
The senior workers said with judgement delivered and prayers answered, it has drawn the attention of all employers and workers in pulp, paper and paper products, printing and publishing companies, industries and corporations in Nigeria to the court judgement for their records and compliance.

PPAPPPAPSSAN said it became necessary given the controversy it has generated in the industry especially in government newspapers and government press in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja. 

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According to PPAPPPAPSSAN: “The jurisdictional scope of the two unions by this NIC Judgement is no longer in dispute.“Workers must be made to belong to their appropriate union for a better collective bargaining. No junior workers trade union can negotiate, represent or defend the course of senior employees anywhere in Nigeria for lack of locus standi.
 
“This information has become absolutely necessary so that nobody should be misled into believing that an appeal lies anywhere until and when such judgement is obtained or when and until the subsisting judgement is vacated.
 
“We call on all workers and employers in all Paper, Printing  and Publishing industries,  Companies and Corporations to be  wary of mischief makers who may be parading or distributing Notice of Appeal as if it is Court judgement and embrace the realities  of the NIC judgement.”

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