The rights of an employee to participate in Trade Union matters
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Labour relations and the law relating to employment in particular has now more than ever before assumed a very significant place in the policy and legal frame work of how the employer -employee relationship should be.' There are fundamental questions in labour relations that employers and employees seek to have answers to, for example they would want to be guided on their rights, duties and responsibilities arising out of that status of being an employer, an employee, a trade union or other employers' organisations. Lack of ready answers to such questions lead to abuse of certain rights which may eventually lead to socially undesirable developments. The rights of every employee to join a trade union of his choice is a fundamental one and touches on the very foundation of freedom of association as enshrined in Article 21 of the Republican Constitution.2 There is a tendency in the Ministry of Education whereby, teachers who are not confirmed are not allowed to participate in the activities of the Teachers' unions. This in itself is a socially undesirable development and such development amounts to discrimination. This research will be based on trade unionism in the Ministry of Education. Freedom of association is guaranteed for every employee, whether confirmed or not, as this is his/her constitutional right and so he/she should not to be discriminated against when it comes to taking part in the lawful activities of the union which are done collectively. It is the above and other related issues that have compelled the writer to undertake this research which although not exhaustive will, it is hoped, be an eye opener to many who have been affected and those likely to be affected by this practice. It is also hoped that this paper will be quite educative. In this regard, it is intended that Chapter one will discuss the employee and his rights. The Chapter will look at the definition of employee and then look at the rights this employee possesses in his employment. In chapter two, the trade union and the employee will be discussed. Under this head, issues like how protected is the employee if she/he participates in union activities, will be looked at. Chapter three will explore in greater detail the nature and basis of discrimination and discuss its various manifestations. Chapter four will discuss the adequacy of the current laws to guard against such discrimination. In the final chapter a sum up of the findings will be made and also recommendations on the guidelines that would sustain the relationship between employer and employee without anyone suffering a detriment.
- Law