Court restrains NURTW from levying Tipper drivers

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nurtwAn Akure High Court on Friday restrained the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) from harassing members of Association of Tippers and Quarry Owners of Nigeria (ATQON) as both are different organisations. Besides, the court ruled that membership of NURTW is voluntary, thus the association has no right to forcefully demand union dues from drivers who are not its members.
ATQON members, who were the claimants, had filed a suit on February 2, 2010 against the defendants, NURTW, over  moves to forcefully ensure affiliation with it.
The High Court Judge, Mr. Olabode Adegbehingbe, ordered that the claimants were not members of the defendants, and were not under any obligation to pay any money under whatever guise to them and their agents.
Adegbehingbe opined that compelling acts meted towards ATQON by NURTW was not constitutional. “Acts of violence, harassment and intimidation on the claimants by the defendants and/or officers, agents and privies are unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants jointly or severally, either by themselves, officers, agents, privies or servants from further harassing, intimidating, assaulting, imposing levies and compelling claimants to be members of the defendants,” he said.
According to him, NURTW is not statutorily given power to regulate the activities of all drivers engaged in road transportation, including tipper lorry drivers.
“There is no statute that gives NURTW power to collect levies and dues for all drivers engaged in road transportation, except those who have voluntarily joined the association. There is no automatic membership of NURTW created by any statute in Nigeria,” he stated.
However, the Judge said the order directing the defendants jointly and severally to pay damages in the sum of N25 million to the claimants with interest rate, was refused.
Earlier, the Counsel to the claimants, Olumide Ayeni called 7 witnesses while the Counsel to the defendants called only one witness.

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