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Counsel corner: Rights of workers

With Dayo Benson

I do benefit from your counsel corner in Vanguard Newspapers and I will like to know the position of our law on the right of workers on contract to belong to trade union where they are working.

Thanks —Kareem

Every workers has the right to belong to a union wherever he or she works, because trade union act or any other Labour law does not prevent workers from belonging to trade unions. Even, casual workers have the right to belong. It should be noted that every employment is a contract, the only thing is that some are fixed and others are not.

2005  “membership of a Trade Union by employees shall be voluntary and no employee shall be forced to join any trade union or be victimized for refusing to join or remain a member”

Length of time on quit notice

Please Dayo, how many months interval should a landlord give to his tenant after quit notice?, and if it happens that the tenant had a problem that made him/her unable to afford this fee at the needed time, is there any consideration and negotiation? Please advice me on this.

— Success, Onitsha

This law requires a landlord to issue a quit notice to his tenant either directly or through his lawyer whenever he deems it necessary to do so especially where there are sufficient grounds. The length of time to be given after expiration of the period of quit notice depends on other factors, for instance, where the tenant is in arrears of rent the period to be given is as stipulated by law. In some jurisdiction, the nature of the tenancy and the arrears of rent owed automatically determines the tenancy.

In the case of a quarterly or half-yearly tenant that is in arrears of rent for six months, the court shall determine his tenancy and make an order for possession and arrears of rent if there is a proof of the arrears by the landlord.

Except on human ground on the part of the landlord, due process of the law is expected to be followed once quit notice is issued. Negotiations can only take place where the landlord agrees on out of court settlement in which case, the length of time to be given will be at his own discretion.

Wrongful detention

I am self-employed. My speciality is aluminum window frame design and fittings. I have been doing this for years and I never had any problem with people I work for. Recently, I introduced a friend to somebody who needed some carpentry work to be done at his building site. After linking the two, I had no idea of what transpired between them.

One day I received a telephone call from the man I introduced the friend to. He asked me to meet him at a particular place. I had no inkling of what was in the offing and I didn’t have any misgivings since I had earlier worked for him. Unknown to me, a policeman was waiting to arrest me over my friend’s misdeed. I was taken to a police station at Ikeja and detained from morning till late in the evening.

I paid before I was released on bail. My offence was that my friend abandoned the job half-way after receiving full payment. It was a traumatic experience for me. My efforts to get my friend or his family refund the money I paid to bail myself have been unsuccessful. What can I do?

— Akin

It is a pity that you were made to suffer wrongfully for the sin of your friend.

It would have been a different situation if your friend were your agent in which case you as a principal would have vicariously liable for his omission or commission. Your illegal detention by the police was a flagrant breach of your fundamental human right.

You can write a petition to the police authority and if no action is taken, you can sue. On the issue of paying to secure bail, it was unlawful because bail is free. You should insist that your friend refund the money, at least he was paid for the job he abandoned.


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.