Court Sets Jan 26 For Decision In NUBE Case
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- The High Court
(Appellate and Special Powers) Monday set Jan 26 for a decision in the
case of the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) challenging a letter
of the Director-General of Trade Unions that a suspended member of the
union cannot hold an officer's position with the union.
Justice Datuk Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin set the date after
hearing submissions from counsel Datuk S. Ambiga, who represented NUBE,
Senior Federal Counsel Nizam Zakaria, who appeared for the
Director-General of Trade Unions, and counsel M. Eswary, who represented
10 other defendants from the union.
Nizam told the court that Section 26(1)(a) of the Trades Union Act 1959
clearly stated that a person holding a position in a trade union must
be a "workman" and employee of the union.
"In this case, the NUBE secretary-general was suspended in 2004," he said.
Sandaragon Solomon s/o Joseph Pitchay, in his originating summons filed
on Aug 20, is seeking a declaration that a member who had been
dismissed, discharged or retrenched from employment could still be
deemed a member of the union.
He is also seeking a declaration that the Trades Union Act 1959, read
together with the Industrial Relations Act 1967, does not prevent a
member who has been dismissed, discharged or retrenched from holding
office as a member.
The union is seeking a declaration that Solomon, who was elected
secretary-general of NUBE on Aug 7, 2005 and re-elected to the same post
on July 26, 2008, was rightly and lawfully elected.
Ambiga submitted that the Director-General of Trade Unions should not
allow his office to be used by people using "backdoor tactics" to
cripple the union.
She said it was strange that the director-general allowed Solomon and
others to contest in 2005 and 2008 and now he took a different position.
Alex de Silva, NUBE's co-counsel, informed the court that Solomon's
dismissal for alleged picketing was pending judicial review at the High
Court after the Industrial Court had ruled that the dismissal was fair.
In the statement of claim, NUBE had stated that the first defendant
(Director General of Trade Unions) never raised the issue of Solomon's
dismissal from CIMB Bank Berhad in 2004 and allowed the elections of the
union in 2005 and 2008.
However, in a letter dated June 26, 2008, the director-general had
taken the position to disqualify Solomon from being a member of the
union after seeking the interpretation of Section 26(1)(a) of the Trades
Union Act 1959 with the Attorney-General's Chambers, it said.