Role Of Active Unionism On Manpower Development In Nigeria

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Role Of Active Unionism On Manpower Development In Nigeria


The main objective of this study was to examine the role of NLC in creating manpower development. Abuja as the case study. Simple random and purposive sampling techniques were used to get a total of 75 study respondents from Nigeria Labour Congress NLC. Data were collected through documentary reviews, questionnaires, and interviews. Data analysis was based on qualitative analysis which is complemented by quantitative analysis presented in forms of tables, charts, and percentages. The findings of this study shows that NLC have not played its role to the extent that moderate and timely renumeration are made, and insure manpower development and their rights are preserved since workers complain that their problems still exist in the working places while NLC are there. The study revealed that if employees’ problems could be solved there will be satisfactory working environment thus it will strengthen working and employment relationships. Therefore, underperformance of NLC leads to employee’s dissatisfaction resulting to high absenteeism rate and workers turnover. The study recommends the government should, reform regulatory framework of employment and labour relations acts in order to increase independent functioning of labour union alsoworkers should insure election and appointment of committed leaders to their labour union who could stand firm during defending the interests of its members to their employers’. This will result in good working performance and satisfaction to employees.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Manpower development has been one of the fundamental issues that have consistently attracted the interest and concern of succeeding government in Nigeria since independence. The Federal Government of Nigeria (1981) realised that if independence was to have meaningful impact on the general well being of its citizen, it must be complemented promptly and definitely by a rapid transformation of the economy to achieve self-reliance. The initial effort of achieving rapid national development were concentrated on the expansion of formal education institution at all levels, and the product were expected to have acquired the skills, knowledge attitude to meet the needs of the vital sector of the economy.

It has been established that the greatest assets of a nation are its human resources (men and women, old and young) who are capable of participating in productive labour, capable, natural resources, international trade etc. It become increasingly clear, in government, industry and commerce that economic growth and economic advancement of the country required the services of trained workers and professionals who possesses technological skills and or executive capacity to provide specialized services of all sorts.

Most nations today are development conscious. The less developed countries are in a state of war against poverty, ill health, ignorance and dominance by stronger nations. They are no longer willing to entrust their future exclusively to the forces of colonial masters. Even the advance nations are committed to growth, and the more rapid the better. These advance nations are reaching the greater achievement like exploring the outer space and other plants. This universal quest for growth is motivated by rising aspirations for economic, social and political progress and it is based upon the optimistic conviction than man, in this age science can move forward by leaps instead of steps.
In essence, the difference in levels of economic development of countries is largely a reflection of the difference in the quality of human resource. The key element in this proposition is that the values, attitudes, general orientation and quality of the people of a country determine its economic development. The shift from manufacturing to service and the increasing pace of technological change are making human resources the crucial ingredient top the nations well being and growth. And in service-oriented industries like banks and railways, the quality, quantity and utilization of human resource become more important.

A nation with abundance of physical resources will not benefit unless human resources make use of them. Hence, human resources are solely responsible of making use of natural resources and for the Transformation of traditional economies into the modern and industrial economies. Lack of organization of human resources is largely responsible in the backwardness of a nation. Countries are underdeveloped because their people are underdeveloped.

Doubtlessly, the most significant resource of any organization is often said to be the people. Such claims appear in organizational annual report mission statement.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The cruel nature of Nigerian entrepreneurs have over the years reflected on their emphasis on high profitability without due consideration of the training of the employee that will make this possible. Ogunyomi et al (2011) noted that in recent times, there has been a contraction of personnel activities, with staff welfare issue being relegated to the background and business-centred approach to employee relations being given prime of place. This is readily noticed in the Nigeria banking industry and other industries where the employees’ private lives are jeopardized in the course of trying to meet the high demands and targets of the management. Young university graduates who are ignorant of what is happening in the industry often fall in this trap and the economy is not helping matters in any way.

This study is designed to evaluate the activities of the trade union as an alternative avenue for manpower development in the country. It’s high time the problem of poor manpower development is visited and a lasting solution provided.

1.3 Research Objectives

1.3.1 General Objective

The purpose of the study is to assess the role of NLC in creating manpower development.

1.3.2 Specific Objectives

The study is guided by the following objectives.

  1. To examine the extent of labour union towards assisting employees in wage negotiation with their employers in getting high wages.
  2. To assess the contribution of labour union in insuring good working condition to employees.
  3. To examine the contribution of labour union in assisting employee training and other development cases.

1.4 Research Questions

The research question revolves around the three specific objectives that have to be answered as follows.

  1. Are NLC assist employees in demanding the rise of the required salary scale level?
  2. Do NLC negotiate with employers to insure good health and safety at work place?
  3. Are NLC assist employees in training and labour development cases?

1.5 Signifance of the Study

The significance of this research work is to evaluate and analysis the contribution of Trade Union to Manpower Development in Nigeria. It is hoped that it would contribute to the promotion of the existing frontier or boundary between human knowledge and the role of trade unions in the development of manpower.

1.6 Research Methodology

Survey research method shall be used to gather information from respondents concerning their opinions on manpower development in Nigeria with reference to the role of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). The questionnaire to be used shall be carefully administered and a total of one hundred (100) people would be selected, for the purpose of this analysis. The sampling shall be done randomly so that the respondents shall cut across different works of life in Lagos State. This could to some extent give a basis for generalisation.

The data, which would be collected from the questionnaire, will be analysed using the simple percentage method and chi-square, goodness of fit. This will make the analysis of the data more concise and simpler.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study will be limited to the role, which the Labour union plays in manpower development in Nigeria. The research work will be so limited because of the limited availability of data and time. It will also cover some of the publications of the Nigerian Labour Congress.

1.8 Definition of Terms


Manpower is the total supply of people available for work or services. It could also be regarded as work of one of the recipients of a nations industry, it can be seem as power in terms of men available or required for a task on purpose.


According to Tobias (1969), Manpower can be defined as people, humanity and society with all its aspirations, needs and capacities. Manpower in the economic sense is managerial, scientific engineering, technical, craftsmen and other skills which are employed in creating, designing and developing organizations, managing and operating productive and services enterprises and economic institutions.


This can be seen to occur when there is a noticeable set-up, output progress in the performance of the resource (either human or material) required for organizational or national building.

Manpower Development:

Haribison F and Myers C. A. (1964) defined manpower development or human resource development as a process of increasing the knowledge, skilled and the capacities of all the people of the society. Manpower development can also be defined as the gradual growth through progressive changes of the personnel available of components to serve in a nation, no doubt, manpower development play a crucial role in the growth and development progress of a nation.

Human Capital:

Human capital can be defined as the stock of capital embodied in people. These are investment that human beings make in themselves to improve their quality. Education on the job training helps migration and some other activities in human beings are undertaken. Human capital in essence is the present value of past investment in the skills of people.

1.9 Organisational Specification

This research work will be divided into five chapters.

  1. The first chapter will be introduction.
  2. Chapter two will focus on the literature review and theoretical framework on the role of trade union in the development of Manpower in Nigeria.
  3. The third Chapter will be based on the research methodology to be adopted in the study
  4. Chapter four would comprise the estimation and analysis of data while
  5. The final chapter, which is chapter five, comprises the summary of findings, conclusion, and recommendation and suggestion for future studies.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.2 Report Summary

The effective functioning of NLC towards creating manpower development is determined by the strength and how often a labour union managed to reduce the working grievances at working places by creating the existing problems to an individual or collectively. From being a member of a labour union, employees are motivated when the NLC present their problems to the employers to be solved and become satisfied with the working environment.

Employees perceive NLC are existing theoretically functioning with all their major objectives but practically it has been a challenge since most of employees long term problems are still existing and therefore to be a member of such labour union is due to employees being bounded by the regulatory framework or labour relation acts rather than their will to be a member.

5.3 Conclusion

According to the first research objective that the position of labour union in assisting employees in wage negotiation the finding indicates that large percentage of employees report that labour union are not doing enough in salary negotiation since the demanded salary scale level has not attained and the salary level inclement is determined by the employers(government).This has been observed when large percent of respondents are not appreciating the efforts of their NLC towards negotiating with their employers. Therefore the existing NLC proved to have low bargaining power that is why the employees are still complaining on it.

Also as to the second objective is concerned, findings indicates that the contribution of labour union towards assisting employees in insuring good working condition it is still a challenge since large number of employees provides that they are still working in a very poor working conditions. Therefore one can say that labour union is not assisting them as much as the objective is.

More over the discussion shows that NLC have minimal assistance towards employees’ into different labour cases and other manpower development since large number of respondents provides that there are still some disciplinary actions are given to employees without being assisted by respective labour union. Therefore NLC do not assists employees as much in assisting employee to solve their labour related cases.

Thus in summing up, NLC are the major and crucial link for the growth working relationship. It is an efficient instrument for helping employees who faces different working constraints. It allows employees solve working problems individually or collectively and acquire the required interests. NLC have traditionally been concerned with seeking the economic and social interests of not only their members but also workers and their families. Unions seek to improve wages and the conditions under which their members are employed and work. By doing this NLC bring about working and employment fairness also social justice to a society as well and the world that is marked by obscene inequality and injustice.

According to this study NLC have not pursued in the required range in manpower development and other core objectives towards struggling to secure benefits for their members, such as financial gains like rise of wages, bonuses, various allowances insurance benefits, overtime payment and non financial benefits such as job security, comfortable work place, recreational facilities and decreasing fear of employer through collective bargaining.

For example within the framework of the collective bargaining process, NLC have not maximum secured for workers a number of important social benefits that are employer-funded due to law bargaining power. These include but are not limited to educational scholarship, commonly called study with pay for workers housing/accommodation loans or subsidies, funeral grants, interest-free loans and provident funds among others.

In fact, the welfare of workers seems to be an inseparable component of the functions of these unions. The biggest challenge confronting unions as they seek to expand services and benefits to their members is government regal framework and funding, unions have traditionally relied on collective bargaining and on union dues to provide services and benefits to members. At the same time, the dwindling membership is adversely affecting the finances of the unions, hence their inability to provide services and benefits outside of the collective bargaining framework.

5.4 Implication to the Research

The study reveals that labour union is a very crucial instrument in manpower development in any organization as they motivate employees towards fulfilling their responsibility. Poor performance, management and commitment of NLC towards creating manpower development leads to poor working relationship as results decreases the quality in job performance of employees.

The research examined that the NLC should stand firm in creating employees because motivated employees are likely to develop interest towards their profession which result in better performance and their carrier due to presence of the driving forces to better performance which are either monetary or non-monetary. Monetary these include direct pay including salary, house allowances, and other direct pay to the employees. Non-monetary include recognition, praise, good working environment like quality health and safety, provision of food and houses.

5.4.1 Implication to Policy

The labour union policies are the guidelines on the NLC which intend to solve manpower development at working places through their unions. These policies also define the philosophies and values through which employees should be treated. They also have principles which labour union are expected to act so that manpower development could be solved.
The labour union policy spells out exactly what action should be taken to assist employees in mediating procedures and practices done by employers which undermine workers welfares.

The researcher find out these NLC carries out its functions in creating working problems to its employees in many ways to insure their affairs are in place. However, the study also revealed that the NLC does not solve manpower developments as much the polices provides. Therefore policy makers should reframe these policies which reflect NLC in order to insure their basic functions are directed towards assisting employees working problems.

5.4.2 Implication to the Knowledge

This study shows that NLC vary greatly in manpower development with regard to specific occupation even though they are operating under the same legal and political environment. Also the researcher observed that number of employee’s do not have clear understanding of their employment rights. On the other hand some employees perceive the NLC are not associated with employment and their jobs at large and have no connection with their working performance. Therefore such knowledge can stand for aid to human resource practitioners to pin point the reasons for poor performance of employee resulted from poor employment relationship emanated from poor functioning of labour union.

5.5 Recommendations

Based on the findings the following recommendations were made.

5.5.1 Recommendations to NLC

The NLC should frequently provide education and training to the employees about their working rights and their rights from being a member of a union. This will prepare them enough for good grounds for demanding where their rights have been denied by their employers. There should be strong NLC that can resist policies and programmers that seek directly or ndirectly to reduce their power in order to constantly help members to prosper.

Establishment of a reporting system which allows for timely monitoring and followup of manpower developments also which gives up-to-date as well as to and flow information about financial stand of the labour union, different legal and other regulatory employment framework changes, and other information’s related to their members both individually and collectively. Creation of a good platform through which employees could participate or involved in day to day collective decision making of the labour union apart from being represented.

Establishment of Evaluation Framework for Services and Benefits .The study established that though services and benefits were offered, there were no effective means to evaluate the satisfaction of such services and benefits. It is therefore recommended that user satisfaction surveys be instituted to evaluate the impact of the various services and benefits currently offered in the NLC. External independent customer satisfaction surveys could be one way to do this.

5.5.2 Recommendations to Employees

Workers should always present their problem to the union as soon as possible in order to avoid unnecessary delay of solutions.Workers should insure election and appointment of committed leaders to their union who could stand firm during defending the interests of members to the employers this will reduce fear, corruption, disloyalty and untruthfulness from union members.

5.5.3 Recommendations to the Government

The Government should always accept the advice from the labour union. In so doing the welfare of the employee will be improved and there will be improvement on work performance for growth and sustainability of the country.Reforming regulatory framework of employment and labour relation in order to increase independent functioning of NLC since some of the labour union leaders are the presidential appointees. For example the general secretary of TUCTA and all other NLC and also some members from the commission for mediation and arbitration (C.M.A.) are the presidential appointees thus this restrict the freedom of the unions. This also will reduce strikes and other forms of riots which costs a lot employee’s performance and the government resources.

High quality industrial relations are the key element in managing economic change and reducing its costs, helping workers and companies adapt to change while protecting them from transitory shocks. Good relations between workers and employers produce positive economic and social effects, both in times of slowing economic growth.

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