Industrial Court dismisses Youth Movement’s entitlement claim against firm, awards cost
The Presiding Judge, Portharcourt Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Faustina Kola-Olalere has dismissed the salary entitlement claim filed by Hon. Tamuno Tamuno and 5 others representing themselves and the Kirikese Youth Movement of Okrika against Bonny Channel Company Ltd for lacking merit.
Justice Kola-Olalere held that there is no valid contract of employment between the parties and Hon. Tamuno Tamuno and 5 others are not entitled to any arrears of salary from the firm.
The Court ordered Hon. Tamuno Tamuno and 5 others to pay Bonny Channel Company Ltd the sum of N500,000.00 as the cost of action.
From facts, the claimant- Hon. Tamuno Tamuno and 5 others had averred that they were members of the kirikese Youth Movement of Okrika and that 30 of their members were employed by the Bonny Channel Company Limited through the negotiation of the company GM and the Secretary.
They stated further that they had an agreement with the Bonny Channel Company Ltd represented by the GM and the Secretary to play the role of watchdogs on the equipment of the firm in the course of its Operation within the Okrika Water ways.
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They averred further that while the company initially paid them through an accredited member of the Complaints’ Youth Body the sum of Two Million, Four Hundred Thousand Naira (#2, 400, 000. 00) only representing the monthly salary of the agreed thirty (30) youths at Eighty Thousand Naira (#80,000. 00) only each, and all effort to make Bonny Channel Company keep to the agreement proved abortive.
In defense, the defendants- Bonny Channel Company Ltd submitted that Hon. Tamuno Tamuno and 5 others are not their employees but the firm only made ex gratia payment to them whenever it had operations.
They also averred that the GM and the Secretary are employees of the firm and so, they are not proper/necessary parties in the case, urged the court to strike out their names and dismiss the case with punitive cost.
In opposition, Counsel to Hon. Tamuno Tamuno and 5 others submitted that his clients have proved that the several sum of money paid by the defendants to his clients was not paid as ex gratia but as salaries, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.
Delivering judgment after careful evaluation of the submissions of both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Faustina Kola-Olalere struck out the names of the GM and the Secretary for not being necessary parties to the suit that the case can effectively be adjudicated upon without their presence.
Justice Kola-Olalere ruled that there is nothing evidencing the alleged contract of employment between the parties before the court and that letters of demand for salary from Hon. Tamuno Tamuno and 5 others are not enough to establish a contract of employment.
Justice Kola-Olalere further stated that Hon. Tamuno Tamuno and 5 others who are contending that they were employees of Bonny Channel Company Ltd is mandatorily required to satisfy the Court by showing their contract of employment but have failed to do so.
“Consequently, I hold that the claimants are not entitled to claim from the defendant any salary from January 1, 2009 till date and this claim is accordingly dismissed for lacking in merit.” The Court ruled