The Effect Of Trade Union Association On Retailing Business In Nigeria Market (Case Study Of Ubani Ibekun Main Market-Umuahia

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The Effect Of Trade Union Association On Retailing Business In Nigeria Market (Case Study Of Ubani Ibekun Main Market-Umuahia


This study aims at finding out the effects of trade union association on retailing business in Nigeria. The study also examined how to settle industrial conflicts in organization in Nigeria. Theories relating to introduction of trade unions, history of trade unions in Nigeria and collective agreement in Nigeria was presented in the beginning of the theoretical study and general information about industrial relations were also presented. The study applied both the qualitative as well as quantitative research methods. Personal interviews and questionnaire were used in building up this research work. The questionnaire consisted mainly of closed ended questions. The empirical study was conducted by sending out a questionnaire to a sample of members of trade unions. The sample size was 200 members. The findings of this research indicate that trade union association has an active role in maintaining the quality life of the workers and its members also believe that by joining this union the interests of wage earners are promoted effectively whereas there is very little relationship between the trade union members and their performance at work.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

In most of developing countries like Nigeria, the informal sector is expanding rapidly, and is vast, heterogeneous in terms of activities and occupations. At times, one qualifies it as innovative, dynamic and a provider of opportunities for those with entrepreneurship skills. Yet, working conditions in this sector are too oppressive, and often unsafe; incomes of unregulated wage earners and the self-employed are usually at or below the poverty line; access to state-provided social protection, training, and social services are severely restricted; exploitation and infringement of workers’ rights are common. For the vast majority of dependent and own-account workers, the informal sector is not a stepping stone to improvement, but a strategy for survival. Therefore, the informal sector is becoming not only a reality in the context of globalization, but also a holder of great promises as far as its potential role for economic development is concerned. Indeed, a group of scholars and practitioners demonstrate their job potential and the dynamism it brings to the economy and its role as a social stabiliser, whereas another group considers it as a source of exploitation and social exclusion.

Trade unionsassociation have an immense impacts on labor markets and societies. The main objective of this study is to examine how trade union association affects retailing business in Nigeria market. The subject matter of trade union association and workers in Nigeria is of interest to both the government and employers. Trade union association, which is the activities of association of workers in a workplace have been accepted and recognized as a necessary action. A trade union can be simply defined as ‘an alliance of workers to strengthen their efforts in bargaining with their correspondents.’ The research in the area of trade unions which makes the topic very interesting and it also provides me with some insights on how trade union works and its effects on workers. There have been lots of research work done in industrial relations. Broadly, speaking the effects of unions may be positive or negative. The issues to be discussed in this study are the effect of trade unions on wages, effects on fringe benefits, collective bargaining which directly or indirectly affects retailing business in Nigeria.

Trade unions association plays a significant role in directly shaping people’s working lives in Nigeria today, although their influence in this respect has diminished in recent times. The proportion of workers who are members of unions fell in the first decade of the twenty-first century, although this decline was modest, and far less dramatic than the decline of the preceding two decades. The exposure of Nigerian firms and industries to greater market pressures, a growing trend in outsourcing and the growth in atypical employment, employer sponsored forms of participation and representation, and the imposition of legal constraints on the ability of unions to recruit, organize, collectively bargain and take industrial action, has all contributed to a sharp fall in membership.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Despite the adoption of various internal strategies and the introduction of laws encouraging employers to recognize unions, the downward trend in membership nevertheless continued in recent years, albeit at a slower pace. How unions respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by the changing nature of work and employment relations will be decisive in determining their level of influence within the workplace in the coming years. This study examines how unions are shaping relations between workers and their employers in today’s workplaces, union responses to labour market fragmentation, and the strategies that unions are pursuing to revitalize membership and restore their influence in the workplace. Unions in virtually all developed economies have lost membership in recent decades, but the decline has been especially sharp in Nigeria. Union density stood at 27 per cent in 2010, compared to 30 per cent in 2000, and 50 per cent in 1980. This downward trend has been especially pronounced among certain groups of workers, notably manual workers, male workers, younger workers, and those in the private sector, although union membership has remained relatively stable among non-manual workers, female workers, public sector workers, and older workers (Bryson and Forth, 2010: 2-5).

1.3 Objectives of the Study

This study aims at finding out the effect of trade union association on on retailing business in Nigeria market. The researcher intend to address the following sub-objectives;

  1. It will also highlight other functions of trade unions that aim towards benefitting both organization and employees.
  2. It also seeks to examine the relationship between trade union association and it impacts on business.
  3. It describes how trade union association is used in settling industrial conflict in a business organization.

1.4 Research Question

  1. Does trade union association in any way influence retailing business in Nigeria?
  2. Does trade union exist solely to fight for the interest of the business operators?
  3. What are the effects of trade unionism in business organizations?
  4. What effort have trade unions made to improve the performance of the retailing business in Nigeria?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This research work is expected to broaden the understanding of trade union association. It will help the business operators to make their demands while to avoid industrial conflicts. This research work will facilitate further studies by other researchers who have an interest in understanding the link between unions and retailing business. Additionally, it will provide insights to trade union as well as help students to gain wider knowledge on the effects of trade unionism on pricing of goods.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

This study centers on the effects of trade union association on retailing business in Nigeria market, focusing on Ubani Ibekun Main Market-Umuahia as a case study. In the cause of the study, the researcher encounters some limitations which limited the scope of the study;

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

Inadequate Materials: Scarcity of material is also another hindrance. The researcher finds it difficult to long hands in several required material which could contribute immensely to the success of this research work.

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

1.7 Definition of Terms

Trade union:

A trade union or trades union, also called a labour union (Canada) or labor union (US), is an organization of workers who have come together to achieve common goals such as protecting the integrity of its trade, improving safety standards, achieving higher pay and benefits such as health care and retirement, increasing the number of employees an employer assigns to complete the work, and better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members (rank and file members) and negotiates labour contracts (collective bargaining) with employers. The most common purpose of these associations or unions is “maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment”.


The act of associating or an organization of persons having a common interest.

Labour Market:

Is defined as the availability of employment and labour, in terms of supply and demand.

Retailing business:

Retailing involves selling products and services to consumers for their personal or family use. Department stores, like Burdines and Macy’s, discount stores like Wal-Mart and K-Mart, and specialty stores like The Gap, Zales Jewelers and Toys ‘R’ Us, are all examples ofretail stores.

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five

Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is pertinent to note that this research was to evaluate the contributions of unionism on the retailing business. Thus the topic “the effect of trade union association on retailing business in Nigeria market”.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges associated with trade union association and retailing business in Nigeria.

5.2 Summary

The preceding discussion has considered trade union association in Nigeria andits impact on retailing business in Nigeria market. Although Nigerian trade union association movement has a long history beginning from thecolonial era to the present day. The post-colonial administration was seen to inherit the anti-labour policy of the colonial era. The military regime was considered to demonstrate harsher attitude towards trade union activities than the civilian administrations.

The study has attempted to locate and understand the role played by particularly trade unions association, as well as the labour regulatory environment in general, in Nigeria. The data analyzed showed that a union which has strong relationship with the workers is more powerful in influencing the management and which will ultimately results in benefits for the workers. Moreover, a union should organize meetings with workers where they guide workers in improving productivity, meet their needs and deliver their voice to the management.

5.3 Conclusion

Based on the Findings, it can be concluded that trade union association is playing an active role in maintaining the quality life of the workers in retailing business. In fact, security in life of the workers seems to be an indispensable component of the functions of this union. Along with it, they are also maintaining good harmonious industrial relations inthis sector.

The researcher conclude that, trade unions should build additional value to members in the work they perform. Besides bringing security to life and improving working conditions the union should try to put more emphasis into bringing new values to its members. The union should concentrate on membership education and training to its members. The union provides members training in fields of labor rights and collective bargaining. Knowing fully well that union density is a major strength and power of any union. Unions with higher density can put pressure on management level and can have a positive influence on workers lives. The data analyzed showed that a union which has strong relationship with the workers is more powerful in influencing the management and which will ultimately results in benefits for the workers. Moreover, a union should organize meetings with workers where they guide workers in improving productivity, meet their needs and deliver their voice to the management.

Finally, the concept of trade union association is formed out of the need to ensure good working conditions and protection of the overall interest of employees. It is also a fact that without a responsible and result oriented workforce, work efficiency will decline.

5.4 Recommendations

To improve the effect of trade unionism on workers, the following suggestions are made;

  1. Trade union association should avoid the path of confrontation but continue dialogue through the collective bargaining process and also demands should be realistic in nature with what is obtainable in the related industry.
  2. An existence of a formal two way communication between management and trade unions will ensure that right message is properly understood and on time too. This will help in maintaining a long term cordial relationship between the parties by minimizing misconceptions.
  3. Finally, work efficiency can only be achieved in a peaceful atmosphere. The union should ensure that their goals are suitable and appropriate with the achievement of the overall organizations objectives. On the other hand, management should always provide path for dialogue as both parties are needed for better worker efficiency.

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