The Essence of Registration of Trade Union in Nigeria

4577 Words Jul 26th, 2012 19 Pages
INTRODUCTION.
In ordinary common usage, trade union is understood as the organization of workers formed to protect the interests of its members. However, the legal definition as we shall see shortly is not as expansive as that. In Nigeria the principal legislation regulating trade unionism which is the Trade Union Act (the Act) requires that a trade union must be registered before it can carry out any of the purposes for which it was established. The questions that naturally arise here are how constitutional is the requirement for compulsory registration of a trade union before it can lawfully carry out its functions? Can the Registrar of trade union refuse to grant an application for registration? If yes, under what circumstance, and if
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Similarly, section 28 (2)(b) empowers the Registrar to refuse an alteration of the rules of a trade union, if as a result of the alteration, the principal purpose of the union would cease to be that of regulating the terms and conditions of employment of workers. Also, section1 (2) provides that the fact that a combination has purposes or powers other than the purpose of regulating the terms and conditions of employment of workers cannot prevent its registration as a trade union.
The combined effect of these sections is that a trade union may have other purposes but any other object or purpose must be merely ancillary to the purpose of regulating the terms and conditions of employment of workers.
In Re Union of Ifelodun Timber Dealers and Allied Workers, the court after examining the object of a combination that applied for registration as a trade union noted as follows:
I can see nothing in these object which, to use the words of the definition, regulates the relation between workmen and masters or between workmen and workmen or between masters and masters. It seems to me that the principal purpose of the association in so far as they may be extracted from the unpublished objects are the protection and expansion of the timber trade and the welfare of all persons, whether they be workmen or employers engaged in

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