(From Vanguard (Nigeria) - AAGM)
Byline: Victor Ahiuma-Young
Section 40 of the1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states "every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular, he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interest ".
Ordinarily this would appear straight-forward and unambiguous to the average person. But not to some people within and outside the nation's public service, the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU) and the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN). For 25 years now, both unions have accused each other of poaching.
People have argued that while the existing labour law makes membership of union automatic, that of association is voluntary and in fact, requires an interested member to indicate in writing his or her membership and authorize management to deduct union dues from his or her salary to the association. This argument, they claim takes solace from the provisions of labour Act under the Protection of Wages. Section 5 (4) Part 1 of Cap 198 which provides as thus: "No deductions shall be made from the wages and salaries of persons who are eligible members of the trade unions specified in Part B of Third Schedule to the Trade Union Act, except the person concerned has accepted in writing to make voluntary contributions to the trade union". ASCSN, they said is listed as Number 6 in Part B of the Third Schedule- Cap 437 …