BY Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—The National Industrial Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, has declared as illegal and a non- trade union, the emergence of a splinter body of teachers known as the Basic Education Staff Association of Nigeria, BESAN in Bayelsa State.
BESAN, which was formed in 2007 by some aggrieved members of Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, in the state, had been locked in legal battle with the leadership of the NUT for recognition.
The leadership of BESAN in the suit had prayed the court to declare that all primary school teachers in the state were at liberty to join any association or union of their choice.
It also asked the court to hold that BESAN has the right to exist, having been incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990, and also declare that NUT was not entitled to any check off dues from salaries of members of BESAN from April 2010, having formally withdrawn from the union.
But the NUT, in its defence asked the court to determine whether by virtue of section 40 of the 1999 Constitution, (as amended) the claimant and all who subscribe to the membership of BESAN have the fundamental right to form themselves into and or belong to any association of their choice.
In his ruling , trial judge, Justice Kola Olalere, held: “BESAN as registered under CAMA is not a trade union under the Trade Union Act, TUA. It is therefore, not entitled to collect check off dues from its members. NUT is hereby, restrained from deducting check off dues from the 10 members, who have properly withdrawn their membership from the Union.”