By; BUHARI B. BELLO, Jos
The Jos division of the National Industrial Court has adjourned until 4th July, 2019 for definite report of settlement or hearing in the case between Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JED) Limited and 45 disengaged staff of the company over alleged non-payment of entitlements amounting to N16.5 million and N100m damages for their disengagement by the company.
When the case file was called, counsel to the claimants Izang Aware told the court that the matter was for the report of settlement or hearing.
The counsel to the respondents Prof Shaka Shaka told the court that he has written a letter to his clients advising them to make payment for the claims but not to pay for general damages.
He further requested for adjournment to allow the initial negotiation come to fruition. Counsel to the claimants however told the Court that if he was privy to the letter of the counsel to the respondents before now, he would have also advised his clients appropriately and dispelled the notion they were nursing to the effect that the respondents were not interested in settlements a development that has also weakened their interest in it.
Counsel however told the court that the payment of claims can go through, thereafter, they can decide on next line of action.
Speaking to New Nigerian after the court session on why he advised his clients to make payment only for claims by the claimants and not for general damages, Prof Shaka Shaka said because in employment matter which is called matters of relationship, general damages is not recognized
“when a litigant comes to court to claim what is entitled to him, of course what is entitled to him as damages is what he would have lawfully gotten if he were properly terminated. Now, since these people have been lawfully terminated, they are only entitled to their claims.
They are not entitled to damages. They are only entitled to what would have accrued them ordinarily which is the severance packages and some of who have collected their severance packages already.
They are not entitled to general damages because they have not suffered any injury.
The injury they have suffered has been compensated to them by one month in lieu of notice” said Prof Shaka
Also speaking, Izang Aware, counsel to the claimants said the court has granted counsel to the respondents another opportunity to go and re-negotiate with his clients.
That is why the court insisted that he should get the CTC of today’s proceedings and give it out to his clients so that his clients can see the position of the court. We didn’t want to push too hard, that is why we are reluctant because we are also in the spirit of settlement so that parties can continue to be friends”.