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Rector, Kwara State Polytechnic v. Adefila

THE RECTOR, KWARA STATE POLYTECHNIC & 3 OTHERS

V

MT. OLA ADEFILA

SURV. A. G. AREMU

MR. J. A. ARANSIOLA

( For themselves and on behalf of all members of

Academic Staff Union of Kwara State Polytechnic)

COURT OF APPEAL

( ILORIN DIVISION )

MUHAMMAD S. MUNTAKA-COOMASSIE JCA ( Presided )

HELEN MORONKEJI OGUNWUMIJU JCA ( Dissented )

IGNATIUS IGWE AGUBE JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

CA/IL/50/2005

THURSDAY, 7 DECEMBER 2006

ACTION - Declaratory action - Plaintiff therein - Whether can depend on weakness of defence

APPEAL - Findings of fact by trial court - When appellate court would interfere with


CONTRACT - Privity of contract - Doctrine of - Purport of - Operation of

CONTRACT - Privity of contract - Exception to general principles of law in respect of - Whether entry into collective agreement by parties’ representatives constitute same

COURT - Declaration of right which is a discretionary remedy - When court can make

DOCUMENT - Construction of document - Rules of

DOCUMENT - Interpretation of document - Issue of - Nature of

EDUCATION - Education as a matter on concurrent list - Where Federal policy and law thereon intends to cover the entire field of the subject matter - Invalidity of state policy or law on same

EDUCATION - National Board for Technical Education - Decision or order of - Bindingness of on Kwara State Polytechnic

ESTOPPEL - Doctrine of - Operation of -

ESTOPPEL - Estoppel by conduct - Successful invocation of - Doctrine of - Essential element of

GOVERNMENT - Successive Government - Need to avoid playing politics in such a way to cause inconsistency in established policies - Notable Pronouncement on

INJUNCTION - Perpetual injunction - Meaning of

INJUNCTION - Perpetual injunction - Plaintiff claiming - What must show

INTERPRETATION - Construction of document - Rules of

INTERPRETATION - Interpretation of document - Issue of - Nature of

JURISPRUDENCE - Established policies - Playing politics in such a way to cause inconsistency therein - Need for successive Government to avoid

JURISPRUDENCE - Facts and law - Relationship between

LABOUR LAW - Collective agreement - Definition of

LABOUR LAW - Collective agreement - Entry into same by parties’ representatives - Whether constitute an exception to the general principles of law in respect of privity of contract

LABOUR LAW - Collective agreement - Where made between employer and employee’s association - Whether individual employee can enforce

LABOUR LAW - Collective agreements - Provisions of - When considered incorporated into contract of employment

LABOUR LAW - Collective labour agreements - Non-justiciable nature of - Where its power of enforcement lies

LABOUR LAW - Collective labour agreements - Provisions of - Need to expressly adopt same to make it enforceable - When same is deemed to have been adopted

LABOUR LAW - Contract of service - Aggrieved employee therein on what should found his case - Whether determination of his rights and obligation could be done outside the terms stipulated in the agreement

NOTABLE PRONOUNCEMENT on need for successive Government to avoid playing politics in such a way to cause inconsistency in established policies

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Legal declaration of right which is a discretionary remedy - When can be made by the court

STATUTE - Kwara State Polytechnic Law, Cap. 120 Laws of Kwara State, 1994 - Purport of vis-a-vis determination of condition of service of staff of the Kwara State Polytechnic

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Collective agreement’ - Meaning of WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Perpetual injunction’ - Meaning of

Issues:

1.             Whether the lower court was right in declaring sixty-five years as the retirement age of the academic staff of Kwara State Polytechnic.

2.             Whether the lower court was right in granting perpetual injunction restraining the appellant from reducing the retirement age of academic staff of Kwara State Polytechnic from sixtyfive years to sixty years.

Facts:

The respondents herein were at the material time academic staff of the 4th appellant. By their letters of offer of appointment and other documents exchanged between them, the retiring age of the respondents in the 5th appellant’s institution is sixty years of age.

In compliance with the terms of the contract of employment, the appellant’s issued notice of retirement to 3rd respondent as he had attained the age of sixty years. Relying on an agreement entered into by the Kwara State Government and the Joint Action Committee of Unions of the State Tertiary Institutions, among others, the respondents alleged that the retiring age for the academic staff of the 4th appellant is sixty-five years of age rather than sixty years.

When the appellants insisted on their stand, the respondents brought an originating summons against the appellants, claiming series of declarations and injunctions against the appellants vis-a-vis the attempt to reduce the retiring age of the Kwara State Polytechnic’s academic staff to sixty years.

Parties filed therein affidavits and counter-affidavits and relied at the trial on their various affidavit evidence and exhibits.

At the conclusion of counsel’s addresses, the trial court found in favour of the respondents and held that sixty-five years is the retirement age of the academic staff of Kwara State Polytechnic and that it cannot be reduced by the appellants. It equally granted perpetual injunction restraining the appellants both jointly and/or severally from reducing the said retirement age from sixty-five years to sixty years except as may be otherwise directed by the National Board for Technical Education.

Being dissatisfied with the trial court’s decision, appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.