Ibadan Division of National Industrial Court of Nigeria on Wednesday dismissed the suit filed by 384 former staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) regarding their 2013 disengagement.
The former PHCN staff, as well as contract staff, were sacked during the partial privatisation of the power sector.
They claimed that they were laid off without due process, but Justice J. D. Peters in his ruling said their action was statute-barred.
He pointed out that they filed the suit outside the required months allowed by the law after their disengagement.
The former staff had in 2014 filed a case of illegal dismissal and non-payment of their salaries and entitlements since July 2014 against the PHCN and Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
Justice Peters said: “The suit, filed in 2014, is one of the oldest cases in this court. The case is hereby dismissed in its entirety.”
The claimants were former employees of the defendants, on different grades and designations, while some were employed as casual workers and corporate guards.
The court had earlier been briefed that the claimants were employed as contract and casual staff, as well as corporate guards, by PHCN prior to its privatisation.
It was further briefed that the claimants complied with BPE’s directive to regularise and re-designate their casual or contract staff status to permanent staff status by Dec. 31, 2009.
The claimants, therefore, said they were entitled to the payment of their salaries, severance packages, gratuities, pension and other entitlements as regularised staff of the PHCN.
One of the claimants, Mr Segun Oyetunji, while reacting to the judgment on behalf of others, told NAN that they would appeal the judgment.
”We are determined to seek redress and ensure we get justice.”