Trade union, also called labor union is an association of workers in a particular trade, industry, or company created for the purpose of securing improvements in pay, benefits, working conditions, or social and political status through collective bargaining. This article focuses on Registration of Trade Unions in Nigeria, Legal Status and the Membership.
Trade Unions in Nigeria is defined by law to mean any combination of workers or employers, whether temporary or permanent, the purpose of which is to regulate the terms and combination of employment of workers. A Trade Union will be unlawful if any of its purposes is in restraint of trade whether its purposes include the provision of benefit to its members or not.
Before an application to begin a trade union can be considered by the Registrar, it must be signed by at least fifty (50) members in the case of a Trade Union of employees, and in the case of a Trade Union of employers, the application form must be signed by at least two (2) members of the Trade Union of employers.
Once the required signatures are obtained, the following are the typical steps that must be taken for the Registration of Trade Unions in Nigeria.
An application for registration duly signed is sent to the Registrar of Trade Unions stating the proposed name and reasons why the Trade Union wants to be established. The application is accompanied by the following documents as required by the Registrar:
Recommendation of the application is made to the Honorable minister for conferment of approval. Approval is only given after ensuring that the application and rules of the proposed union have been satisfied.
A publication of notice of application is made in the Federal Government's Official Gazette for a period of three months. During this period, objection to the registration of the trade union can be made in writing to the Registrar of Trade Union.
Consideration of objections raised towards the registration of the union if any. If there are credible objections, the Registrar shall notify the applicant accordingly and shall take no further action in relation thereto until the application has been amended to his satisfaction or a fresh application is made. If objections are found baseless, Registrar shall go ahead to register the Trade Union.
In the latter the Trade Union is duly registered and a certificate of registration is issued to the duly registered union. This shall be conclusive evidence that the requirements of the law with respect to the registration of Trade Union in Nigeria have been complied with, and that the Trade Union is authorized to be registered.
However, If the Registrar refuses to register the union, he shall forthwith send to the applicants a notice stating the grounds of refusal and specifying the date from which the time for appealing against the refusal is to run, and also publish this in the Federal Gazette. Any official or member of the union may, within the period of thirty days beginning with the date so specified, appeal to the appropriate court against the refusal.
It should be noted that membership of Trade union in Nigeria is voluntary and no employee shall be forced to join any trade union or be victimized for refusing to join or remain a member. The membership of a Trade Union cannot be denied of an employee or employer on grounds of ethnicity, race, religious beliefs or political opinions or affiliations.
It should however be NOTED that members of the Armed Forces, Central Bank of Nigeria, Customs, Nigerian Security Printing & Minting Company, Nigerian Police and every Federal or State Government establishment whose employees bear arms cannot form a trade union. They can however establish consultative committees to protect the interest of their employees.
unions require registration to allow for legal recognition. Once registered, a trade union like a company has a legal personality of its own, with the capacity to negotiate collectively on behalf of its members for better employment conditions.
A trade union cannot lawfully perform any of its objectives unless and until it is registered by the Registrar of Trade Unions. Employers are statutorily required to recognize and deal with a registered Trade Union. It is mandatory that a Trade Union before it commences the execution of its objectives must apply for and be registered by the Registrar of Trade Unions.
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