PUC has renowned expertise in Labour and Industrial Relations Law and Practice. We advise and represent clients on various aspects including human resources and labour laws compliance audit, industrial relations and labour litigation, preparation of employees policy manuals and handbooks, negotiations and preparations of contracts of services, severance agreements, collective bargaining agreements, labour management relations, negotiation of outsourcing arrangements, and representation in the Industrial Arbitration Panel, and the hierarchies of courts in Nigeria.
Our lawyers possess vast knowledge and experience in labour and industrial dispute matters and, we work and partner as necessary with leading human resources, thereby providing our clients the benefit of very rich, cross-fertilised ideas and strategies.
Industrial Dispute Involving Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited
A major industrial union dispute involving one of Nigeria’s oil giants, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, which resulted in complete shutdown of its facilities, offshore and onshore, including its administrative offices. We worked with the client’s in-house team in resolving the dispute as speedily as possible, and it was our responsibility to provide full legal support and analysis for achieving that objective. Upon resolution of the dispute, we conducted with the in-house team, a comprehensive legal post-mortem of the dispute, with emphasis on lessons learnt, and strategies for avoiding/addressing future disputes.
Access Bank PLC and Intercontinental Bank PLC Merger (Post-Merger Labour Issues)
During the 2011-2012 bank recapitalisations, one of our clients, Access Bank PLC, a leading Nigerian bank, acquired and subsequently merged with Intercontinental Bank PLC. Following examination, Access Bank PLC found it necessary to disengage a number of Intercontinental Bank PLC’s staff. Thus, as expected, complex labour issues arose. We provided the legal and strategic direction for the resolution of all labour issues related to the acquisition, and there has been no significant bite-back issue therefrom.
Eastern Bulk Cement (“EBC”) Acquisition by Ibeto Cement Company Ltd. (“ICC”)
We provided transactional and advisory services to a major cement company located in the South-South region of Nigeria, ICC, in its acquisition of another cement company, EBC. In this instance, we met with, negotiated, and concluded with the workers’ unions, the terms of disengagement in respect of some of the acquired entity’s workers, and also prepared all relevant documentation therefor, including the engagement documents, and terms for the retained personnel.
Industrial Dispute Resulting in Picketing of the Office of Airtel Nigeria
Two call-centre organisations that provide outsourced services to our client, Airtel Nigeria, one of Nigeria’s leading mobile telecommunications companies, were embroiled in a major trade union dispute that resulted in complete shutdown of the call-centre facilities and services. The call-centre companies were closely identified with Airtel because of their services to Airtel. It therefore became the misplaced target of the call-centre workers and the unions, leading to massive picketing of its offices. To mitigate the risk to business disruptions, we took the lead in negotiating settlement between the call-centre organisations, its workers, the trade unions, and Nigeria’s Ministry of Labour. PUC provided the strategic and legal direction for the entire negotiation processes up to the final resolution of the disputes.
PENGASSAN v. Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited
A major Nigerian oil company, Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited (“SPDC”), a Dutch-parented multinational, had protracted disputes with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), one of Nigeria’s leading oil and gas workers’ union, over SPDC’s contract staff. The matter was brought before the then Nigeria’s Minister of Labour, who referred it to the Industrial Arbitration Panel (“IAP”) for resolution. The matter journeyed to the National Industrial Court (“NIC”) and back to IAP for substantive resolution. We represented SPDC before IAP, and NIC, and also played advisory roles in meetings with the Ministry of Labour.
NUPENG v. Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited
We represented SPDC in a dispute revolving around it and its workers’ union, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (“NUPENG”). NUPENG threatened to embark on strike action in a bid to forestall the operations of SPDC. PUC played a significant role in obtaining an injunction from the National Industrial Court (NIC), restraining the union from carrying out the threatened strike action and other related activities.
Mr. Brian Harding & 12 Ors v. Ibom Power Company Limited & Ors
represented Ibom Power Company Limited (IPC), a major power company with
headquarters in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, in an employment related dispute
Hundred and Sixty Four Million, Eight Hundred and Twenty Six Thousand, Nine
Hundred and Thirteen Naira, Forty Kobo).
WAPIC PLC/Intercontinental Properties Limited Merger: Employee Integration Issues
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Regulation on the Scope of Banking Activities & Ancillary Matters, No. 3 2010 which limited the ability of banks to engage in non-core banking business offered a unique opportunity to streamline the operations of non-bank subsidiaries of the Access Bank Group, further to the Access/Intercontinental Banks merger. The group decided to merge two of its subsidiaries, Intercontinental Properties Limited (“IPL”), a private company involved in real estate development and management, and Wapic Insurance PLC (“Wapic”). The merger required the integration of the employees of IPL into Wapic, and PUC was responsible for reviewing the Staff Policy Manual and Employee Handbook, and advising on the modalities for integrating the retained staff into the surviving Wapic, disengaging the unintegrated staff, severance strategy, and pay-outs including gratuity, pension, and other severance benefits.