THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA AND THE APPLICATION OF FAIR HEARING IN MASTER-SERVANT EMPLOYMENT DISPUTES: A CRITIQUE
Keywords:Termination of Master-Servant Relationship, Application of Fair Hearing, International Labour Convention, Jurisdiction of National Industrial Court of Nigeria
One aspect of employment disputes which constantly calls for attention is the common law rule that an employee in a purely master-servant employment relationship is not entitled to fair hearing in the determination of his contract of employment. This work aims to critique of the jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) in the application of principles of fair hearing in the determination of employment disputes in a purely master-servant employment relationship. The work adopts doctrinal legal research methodology with a critical and analytical approach using statutory instruments, case law, journal articles, published texts and unpublished works. The paper concludes that although Nigeria has not ratified the ILO Convention 158 of 1982 that makes provisions for the application of fair hearing in the determination of contracts of employment in its article 7, Section 254 (c) (1) F & Hof the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Third Attention) Act, 2010 confers the NICN with the jurisdiction to apply article 7 of ILO Convention 158 of 1982 as proof of international best practices in labour. The NICN exercises this jurisdiction to apply fair hearing by insisting that an employer seeking to terminate the employment of its employee must first afford the employee sought to be removed an opportunity of defending him or herself. By applying article 7 of ILO Convention 158 of 1982 in Nigerian labor jurisprudence, the common law rule that an employee in master-servant relationship is not entitled to fair hearing will be eroded and a fairer system of termination of employees will become entrenched in Nigeria.