Section 80-85 of the Nigerian Labour Act 2004
Section 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85 of the Nigerian Labour Act 2004 is under Part IV (Supplemental), and collectively titled ‘Settlement of disputes‘.
Section 80 of the Labour Act 2004
(1) A magistrate’s court (or, in a State where a magistrate’s court has no civil jurisdiction, a district court) shall have jurisdiction to hear complaints under section 81 of this Act.
(2) Without prejudice to the jurisdiction to hear complaints conferred by subsection (1) of this section, the Chief Judge of a State with the concurrence of the State Authority may by order confer jurisdiction to hear such complaints on area courts or customary courts in the State or part of the State.
Section 81 of the Labour Act 2004
(a) an employer or worker neglects or refuses to fulfil a contract; or
(b) any question, difference or dispute arises as to the rights or liabilities of a party to a contract or touching any misconduct, neglect, ill-treatment or injury to the person or property of a party to a contract,
any party to the contract feeling himself aggrieved may make complaint to a court having jurisdiction, which may thereupon issue a summons to the party complained against (the aggrieved party, the court, the party complained against and the complaint being hereafter in this section and in sections 82 to 85 of this Act referred to as “the complainant”, “the court”, “the respondent” and “the complaint” respectively).
(2) If the complainant claims an amount beyond the civil jurisdiction of the court, the court shall forward the complaint to the nearest court having jurisdiction.
(3) The court may exercise jurisdiction in the complaint if the respondent is in its area of jurisdiction at the time the complaint is made, whether or not the grounds of the complaint arose within that area.
(4) If at any time after the laying of the complaint it appears to the court by information on oath that the respondent is about to abscond, the court may cause him to be arrested and detained in custody unless he finds security to appear and answer the complaint and to abide by the decision of the court thereon.
(5) Where the court is of the opinion that the complaint could more properly or conveniently be dealt with by civil proceedings, it may, at any time before giving its final decision on the complaint, order that the remedy, if any, for the matters complained of shall be by an action brought in accordance with the law relating to civil proceedings and not by proceedings under this section.
(6) This section shall not apply to a trade dispute, that is to say, any dispute or difference between employers and workers (or between workers and other workers) connected with-
(a) the employment or non-employment; or
(b) the terms of the employment; or
(c) the conditions of labour,
of any person.
Section 82 of the Labour Act 2004
Powers of the court
(1) In dealing with the complaint; the court-
(a) may adjust and set off one against the other all such claims on the part of the complainant and the respondent arising out of or incidental to the relationship between them as the court may find to be subsisting, whether the claims are liquidated or unliquidated or for wages, damages or otherwise, and may direct the payment of such sum as it finds due by one party to the other;
(b) may direct fulfillment of the relevant contract and, in a case where damages might be awarded for any breach of contract, may in place of the whole or part of the damages which would otherwise have been awarded direct the party committing the breach to give security to the satisfaction of the court for the due performance of so much of the contract as remains unperformed;
(c) if the party receiving a direction under paragraph (b) of this subsection fails to find security and the court is satisfied that the failure is not due to the inability of that party to find it, may commit him to prison (for a period not exceeding three months) until he finds it;
(d) may rescind the contract upon such terms as to apportionment of wages or other sums due thereunder, and as to the payment of wages or damages or other sums due, as it thinks just; and
(e) where the court has criminal jurisdiction and it appears to the court that an employer or worker has been guilty of an offence under this Act, may in place of or in addition to exercising any of the powers conferred by paragraphs (a) to (d) of this subsection pass on the offender any sentence which is authorized by this Act and is within its criminal jurisdiction.
(2) Without prejudice to any other method of giving security which the court may consider appropriate in any particular case, a person may give security for the purposes of subsection (1) (b) of this section by making in or under the direction of the court a written or oral acknowledgment (to be known as a recognizance) of the undertaking or condition by which and the sum in which he is bound; and any such recognizance shall be made as nearly as possible in the same way as recognizances of bail and shall be liable to be forfeited and enforced in the same way as recognizances of bail.
Section 83 of the Labour Act 2004
(1) Subject to this section and the other provisions of sections 81, 82, 84 and 85 of this Act, the law regulating the procedure in criminal cases (including the law
respecting appeals, revisions and the levying of moneys ordered to be paid) shall apply to the complaint and any orders for the payment of money made in consequence of the complaint, so however that-
(a) the court may order that the law regulating civil proceedings shall apply to the complaint and any such orders if in any case it considers that the interests of justice so require; and
(b) the law regulating civil proceedings shall so apply if the court has no criminal jurisdiction.
(2) Where in consequence of the complaint the court makes an order for the payment of any sum by a public authority, no execution shall be issued, but the court shall forward a copy of the order-
(a) if the public authority is the Federal Government, to the Minister for Finance and Economic Development;
(b) if the public authority is a State Government, to the Minister for Finance of that State; and
(c) in any other case, to the public authority concerned, and it shall thereupon be the duty of the Minister, person or public authority in question to ensure that the amount in the order is paid by the proper officer or department.
(3) The respondent, if immediately before the hearing of the complaint he is not in actual custody, shall not be compelled to enter the dock or other place usually assigned for persons under trial on a criminal charge or be otherwise treated as under arrest during the hearing of the complaint:
Provided that the court may cause the respondent to be arrested and detained in custody if it is satisfied that it is necessary to do so in order to secure the attendance of the respondent.
(4) At the hearing of the complaint the respondent shall be a competent but not a compellable witness.
(5) At the request of the complainant, an authorized labour officer who is entitled to act under section 78 (1) (j) of this Act may represent the complainant at the hearing of the complaint.
Section 84 of the Labour Act 2004
Compensation, and provision of food
(1) Where the court-
(a) imposes any fine; or
(b) directs security by way of deposit to be given; or
(c) enforces payment of any sum secured by a recognizance,
it may direct that the fine, deposit or sum when recovered (or such part thereof as it thinks fit) shall be applied to compensate any employer or worker for wrong or damage sustained by him by reason of the act or thing in respect of which the fine was imposed or by reason of the non-performance of the relevant contract.
(2) Where it appears to the court that the complainant (being a worker) has not the means and is otherwise unable to obtain food for himself pending the determination of the complaint, it may, subject to subsection (3) of this section, cause the complainant to be supplied with necessary Food at the expense of the Federal Government.
(3) Where food is supplied to the complainant under subsection (2) of this section, the cost of the food shall be a debt due to the Federal Government from the complainant and may be deducted by the court from any moneys received by the court for or on behalf of the complainant, or shall otherwise be paid by the complainant.
Section 85 of the Labour Act 2004
(1) Subject to this section, the process of the court for compelling the attendance of the respondent and all necessary witnesses shall be instituted at the expense of the Federal Government and without any fees of court.
(2) At the final determination of the complaint the court may make such order for the payment of costs by either party as it thinks proper in the circumstances.
(3) If at the hearing of the complaint, the court is of the opinion that the complaint is vexatious or frivolous it may, there and then and without any fresh action or proceeding, order that the complainant shall-
(a) pay a fine not exceeding N50 and defray the cost of the process and the witnesses; and
(b) in default of payment of the fine and costs, be liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one month.