Industrial Conflict And Trade Unionism In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Academic Staff Union Of Polytechnic)

Project and Seminar Material Under Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution

Industrial Conflict And Trade Unionism In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Academic Staff Union Of Polytechnic)


Abstract


The purpose of this work is to examine nature and impact of industrial conflict in the achievement of trade union objectives. A case study of academic staff union of polytechnic in Akanu Ibiam Federal polytechnic. The research work is also aimed at providing methods and techniques that can be use to increase industrial harmony and enhance achievement of trade union objective in the tertiary institutions with emphasis on Akanu Ibiam Federal polytechnic. In the course of this work, the objectives of the study raised researched question on what trade union is all about. The study objective, question If the existence of trade union influence the policy making and implementation the organization. The study whether the, harmonious industrial relation between worker and management is as a result of smooth achievement of trade union goals and objective in the organization. The study also identified problem and inadequacies of parties in industrial relation concept. The methods of gathering date were through primary and secondary sources. The primary sources were through administering of questionnaires and interviews. In finding of data presentation and analysis, it was discovered that as long as the needs of the union are meet which is by questing a better working environment for workers, increase salary and wage and other employment conditions there will always be harmonious relationship between the union and management.


Table of Content


  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Industrial conflicts in organizations are inevitable. For employees to perform their crucial roles effectively and efficiently there must exist a strong cordial relationship between the employees and employers in the organizations. Industrial conflict is an everyday phenomenon in each in each organization. There is a growing recognition of the importance of conflict management in an organization. A recent survey indicated that mangers spend a considerable portion of their time dealing with conflict and that conflict management becomes increasingly important to their effectiveness. (Obasin, 2011).

Onyeonoru (2005), defined industrial conflict as all expression of dissatisfaction within the employment relationship especially those pertaining to the employment contract and effort bargaining. Industrial conflict are viewed as the clash of interest and resulting dispute of varying intensity between individuals, groups and organizations in the industrial relation system(Akanji, 2005). Azamosa (2005) observed that conflicts involve the total range of behaviors and attitudes that is in opposition between owners/managers on the one hand and employees on the other hand. It is a state of disagreement over issues of substance or emotional antagonism and may arise due to anger, mistrust or personality clashes. Irrespective of the factors resulting in conflict, it has been observed that industrial conflicts produce considerable effects on organizations and should be consciously managed as much as possible. Obisi (1996) argues that despite this fact, peace forms one of the fundamental factors to enhanced productivity with resultant benefits to both the labour and management as well as for the economic development of the country. It will not be out of place therefore to consider industrial conflict as an inevitable and desirable factor in the work place.Because of the wide range of potential difference among people, the absence of conflict usually signals the absence of meaningful interactions.

Conflict by itself is neither good nor bad. However, the manner in which conflict is managed determines whether it is constructive or destructive (Deutsch and Coleman, 20000. Thus conflict remains the most permanent feature that makes humanity convinced that growth and development are predicated on conflicts. Though conflict is generally perceived as something devastating, abnormal, dysfunctional and detestable, yet it could be a precursor of positive change if constructively handled (Edward, 200).Conflict management suggests solving conflict instead of reducing, eliminating or limiting their durations. This means each organization should have a macro strategy, reducing the negative consequence of conflict (Gonan Bozac et al (2008). Conflict management implies integration of all factors which can contribute to conflict resolution or its prevention. These factors are improvement of communication and practicing discipline in the organization as well as having in mind the life phases of parties involved. Furthermore, conflict management according to Hellriegel and Slocum (1996), consists of the intervention designed to reduce conflict or in some instances to increase insufficient conflict. It is a process whereby managers design plans and implement policies and procedures to ensure that conflict situations are resolved effectively.Inappropriately managed conflicts may result in abandonment of employees and disinclination on their part to contribute in other groups or assist with various groups or assist with various group actions activities in the work place. Hence, conflict management has the ability to handle conflict efficiently. Conflict handling refers to the methods used by any one or mutual groups in dealing with conflict (Gordon, 2003).

The development of this research work is largely due to the inability of leaders in Nigerian work organizations (Ministry of Economic Planning Asaba, Delta State) to view the management of industrial conflict as systematically as they view information, human resource and financial management system. Instead conflict is viewed and handled in piece meal and is considered a local event.

Strikes are the most significant aspect of industrial conflict. Strike is defined as the temporary stoppage of work in the pursuance of grievance or demand. In practice however, it has been difficult to separate strike from other forms of expression of industrial dispute as employer lock out workers and workers themselves embark on strike action.
It is more useful to view both phenomena as part and parcel of the conflict situation, not as opposite. Rarely does a strike occur over a single issue for an obvious cause may be linked with several other issues that not immediately apparent to the observation that have caused dissatisfaction because solutions to them have been long in coming. The actual occurrence of strike depends on several factors including prevailing circumstances. This also goes to show that few strikes occur spontaneously especially as there is no way of guaranteeing that strike actions instead of the other forms of industrial action would be decided upon by workers involved.

Each time strike occurs substantial man-hour is lost, a good example is the first general strike of (1945), the (1993) ASU strike where universities in the country was closed for couple of months thereby causing set back in the tertiary institution.

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, the two major umbrella bodies of workers union in Nigeria mobilized workers for an indefinite strike action which commenced on Monday, 9th January, 2012 to drive home the protest against the fuel subsidy removal of January 1st 2012. The government of Nigeria removed fuel subsidy by increasing the price of petrol per litre from N65 to N141 on January 1st 2012.

This nationwide strike affected the country‟s economy negatively where the volume of trading on the floor of the Nigeria Stock Exchange,( NSE) fell by 82 percent, local flights were grounded, and lifting of crude oil was hampered. The strike had a lot of effect on the major sector of the economy as activities of the (NSE) that are trading slumped by 80%, while banks complied with the strike order and closed shop, the NSE opened for business as usual. But at close of trading, only 46.06 million shares were traded in 20 deals.

This is a significant reduction when compared with an average 262 million shares worth about N1.05 billion traded in 2,509 deals the previous week. The Nigeria Labour Congress,(NLC) has led a number of general strikes in the past to mention a few. In 2004, the Nigeria Labour Congress gave the Federal government an ultimatum to reverse the decision to introduce the controversial fuel tax or force a nation wide protest strike. The strike threat was made despite the fact that the Federal High Court judgment in an earlier dispute had declared the organization lacking legal power to call a general strike over government policies.

It is in this context that the research wishes to access the impact of strike action on the achievement of trade union objectives in both private and public sectors in Nigeria and how management policies/decisions are influenced by workers through the representatives (trade union) to the effect of harmonizing management polices with trade union objectives enhancing efficiency as well as maintain good industrial relation peace and harmony in the work place using trade union.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The unstable industrial relation climate in Nigeria just within the decades has resulted in all time record of lost working hours, unprecedented work stoppage as a result of strike action.

By October 1981,both federal and state government were broke, by December, seven out of the nineteen state governments could hardly pay the salaries of their employees; by June 1982, Bendel, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Benue and Imo States were owing teachers two to four months arrears. It was only when junior workers threatened strike action in Cross River State and teachers actually abandoned classes in Bendel State after not receiving January salaries as at April 1982 that both government cleared part of the outstanding amount .

In the first six months of the year 1982, Nigeria lost a total of 4,598 man- hours because of strike action by workers. The recent strike action embarked by Nigeria Labour Congress in January, 2012 has cost the country millions of naira as all the sectors of the economy which engage in productivity activities in order to boost the gross domestic product of the economy were closed down for couples of days.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The purpose of this study is to probe into the effectiveness of industrial conflict/action as a means of achieving union objectives from the management. This study is based on a case study of academic staff union of polytechnic in Akanu Ibiam Federal polytechnic.

Precisely, the study is focused on following issues, tools for achieving union demands from management using strike as the major tools in achieving union objectives.

The recommendation which will be based mainly on the findings of the research will be implemented to strengthen the effectiveness of strike action as means of achieving union objectives. If on the other hand, the study suggest a better way of achieving union aims than strike, then of course the mentored will be recommended.


1.4 Research Questions

  1. Does the existence of trade union lead to increase strike action?
  2. Does collective bargaining lead to human resource practices which help in the achievement of union objective?
  3. Do trade unions influence the making and implementation of management polices?
  4. Has the trade union activities affected the organization objective negatively?
  5. Is the union management effective?
  6. Does union undertake peaceful dialogue as a means of setting trade dispute between management and the employee?
  7. How good is the union management relation of the organization?
  8. Does the management respond to the union positively?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

The researcher formulates the following hypothesis based on the objectives and problems identified for the purpose of this research work, stating them in both Null and alternate forms.

  • Ho: Organizational objectives are low where there is a strong and viable trade union.
  • H1: Organizational objectives are high where there is a strong and viable trade union.

1.6 Significance of the Research

The findings will be useful as it will contribute to the existing knowledge on how to institute and implement trade union activities according to their basic objectives. In policy making, the academic staff union of polytechnics can use the findings from this study to make review and decisions related to management and functions of trade unions particularly in government organizations. In likewise manner, the study will useful to the education sector as a whole. The result will provide clear picture to what extent trade unions in Nigeria are playing their roles in solving employees’ and industrial conflict. It will also broaden the researchers understanding on the subject of trade unions and their position towards solving employee’s problems.


1.7 Scope of the Study

This study is set to examine the Industrial Conflict And Trade Unionism In Nigeria; a case study of academic staff union of polytechnic. Thus to achieve the desired result, the study will focus on finding out if there is trade unionism among the staff, ascertaining the impact of trade unionism in managing working grievances, examining the role of trade unionism in ensuring a safe working environment, determining the influence of trade unionism on preventing unlawful termination of employee’s employment, and investigating the challenges facing trade unionism. The study will therefore be limited to Akanu Ibiam Federal polytechnic, Unwana.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Employee:

A person employed for wages or salary, especially at non-executive level.

Trade Union:

A trade union is an organisation made up of members (a membership-based organisation) and its membership must be made up mainly of workers. One of a trade union’s main aims is to protect and advance the interests of its members in the workplace.


1.10 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), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights 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 Summary of the Study

The purpose of this work is to examine nature and impact of industrial conflict in the achievement of trade union objectives. A case study of academic staff union of polytechnic in Akanu Ibiam Federal polytechnic.

The research work is also aimed at providing methods and techniques that can be use to increase industrial harmony and enhance achievement of trade union objective in the tertiary institutions with emphasis on Akanu Ibiam Federal polytechnic.

In the course of this work, the objectives of the study raised researched question on what trade union is all about. The study objective, question If the existence of trade union influence the policy making and implementation the organization.The study whether the, harmonious industrial relation between worker and management is as a result of smooth achievement of trade union goals and objective in the organization. The study also identified problem and inadequacies of parties in industrial relation concept.

The methods of gathering date were through primary and secondary sources. The primary sources were through administering of questionnaires and interviews. In finding of data presentation and analysis, it was discovered that as long as the needs of the union are meet which is by questing a better working environment for workers, increase salary and wage and other employment conditions there will always be harmonious relationship between the union and management.


5.2 Conclusion

This study has indicated that in recent time, Industries are increasingly recognizing the need for cordial relationship between management and trade union, which helps in maintaining harmonious working environment and help to enhance the effective and efficient productivity of the organization.

It is concluded that with trade unions in manufacturing company, there would be efficient relationship between workers and management thereby bringing high productivity through the effort of unions reducing turnover rate and workers insecurity, increasing workers morale by enabling them have a collective voice to address their problems and receive solutions and compensation, improved working condition.

Management should ensure that when formulating and implementing policies that take care of the interest of parties involved, having proper concern in the evaluation of those policies so that they will not in turn bring about conflict situation between management and trade union. The policies adopted should contain or cover areas as industrial peace, job security, improved working environment and adequate facilities.

Collective bargaining which is a machinery for settling dispute should be employed by both management and labour in any conflictual situation for the avoidance of industrial action in order to endure harmonious relationship and industrial unity.


5.3 Recommendations.

Based on the finding of the research, this study will recommend the practical way of ensuring that trade union objectives are achieved and avoidance of the danger of industrial action in the organization.

  1. Better workers- management relationship should be encourage through meetings aimed at and seeking union opinion on some issues. Autocratic leadership should be avoided.
  2. General upward view of the fringe benefits should be carried out to be in line with the economic needs of the staff.
  3. The apparent lack of confidence between union and management should be discouraged. Both parties should see themselves as partners in progress.
  4. It is advisable that management of Akanu Ibiam Federal polytechnic put the goals of the workers/union into consideration when making decision.
  5. Management should adopt a humanistic approach technique and use it in there management function. This will help discourage workers and management from corrupt practices and dishonesty in management- labour relations.

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