The Role Of Trade Union On Effective Labour Management Relation In A Government Organization (A Case Of Nigeria Union Of Teachers)

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration


This work is on the effective labour management of trade union relation in a government organization. Therefore in this work, a thorough study on labour as represented by trade unions is undertaken. Its development, objective, problems and achievements are also examined. A study of conflicts and disputes, the machinery for their settlement and resolution are also discussed. The machinery for government intervention in such dispute is discussed as well. Trade union plays an important role in the growth of government organization, thereby ensuring a smooth process of setting organizational conflicts which helps to maintain peace and harmony. It fights for compensation to workers that suffer from injury while in services.

Table Of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

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

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Question
  • 1.5 Statement of Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • References

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Origin, Development and Growth of Trade Union in Nigeria
  • 2.3 Formation, Registration and Regulation of Trade Unions.
  • 2.4 Essence and Objectives of Trade Union
  • 2.5 Structure and Organization of Trade Union
  • 2.6 Machinery for Dispute Resolution
  • 2.7 Appraisal of the Role of Trade Unions in Effective Labour Management Relation in Nigeria
  • References

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Design and Methodology

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Research Design
  • 3.3 Sources/Methods of Data Collection
  • 3.4 Population and Sample Size
  • 3.5 Sample Technique
  • 3.6 Validity and Reliability of Measuring Instrument
  • 3.7 Methods of Data Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Presentation and Analysis of Data

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Presentation of Data
  • 4.3 Analysis of Data
  • 4.4 Test of Hypothesis
  • 4.5 Interpretation of Results

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Summary of Findings
  • 5.3 Conclusion
  • 5.4 Recommendation
  • References
  • Appendix
  • Questionnaire

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

Labour as a factor of production being the executor of distribution and production of goods is important contributor towards the economic growth and development of a country. The uncomfortability and unsatisfaction of the labour should be address as fast as possible. In other to receive the misfortunes, for easy communication to the government trade union formed to represent the entire labourers and communicate to the government on their behalf and also organize and manage them for smooth running of business in the country toward achievement of vision 2020 of millennium goal.

The history of the relationship which exists between employer and their employees, the world over is one marked by controversy and brought with maltreatment and injustice, with each party claiming to be victim. No mention of trade unions can be made without reference to the industrial revolutions of the 18th century which started in Britain starting in about 1760, which created the conditions in which trade unions began to grow.

The growth of modern trade unions began with the growth of the factory system which consisted in the use of water or stream power and later cold to drive the row machinery that led to the growth of factory employment and the doctrine of college industries. These attracted people away from their wearing looms to live in new towns that were situated around a factory or group of deplorable living quarters consisted of row of small brick houses for the workers and their families.

There were no clinics, hospitals or schools and bare farm of sanitation were provided, created breeding ground for different illness. The working conditions were no better. The working hours were long and tedious and could be anything between fourteen and seventeen hours. The wages paid were not commensurate with the period and amount of work done; not being sufficient to keep body and soil together, child labour was also practiced. It was against this type of background that trade unions began to crave in the early stages of formation, they were small and local and meeting place was restricted to a particular trade or profession.

Their meeting place was usually first in their different names or secretly on hillsides outside the towns and then in drinking houses.
Here they discussed about wages, hours and conditions of work. They also established sick and burial funds for members who lost their jobs, by each member paying in the each week to help one another in times of distress.

Employees at first and later, successive governments grow from strength to strength, efforts to check this development resulted in the combination laws of 1799 and 1800, which declared unions to be criminate offence against the people.

Although, these laws were later repealed it was not after workers and unions officials had suffered untold hardship in the form of prosecutions, imprisonments and some times death at the instagnation of employers and governments.

Similarly in government organization the development of trade unions has not been without its own fair share of problems from both employers and the government which often is also an employer of labour.

Trade union development was slow and generally emerged from the effort of workers to seek on improvement existing conditions through collective action.

This late growth of trade unions in the country did not however affect its development once the unions got started.

With a population of labour, about 11.15 million and a great proportion of the population engaged in wages earning unions in creating the right atmosphere for effective labour management relation and hence implications for national and government. It is in realization on this fact that over the years there have been calls for the establishment of viable and efficient trade unions in reality, though the relationship in recent years has not been a smooth one with incessant strikes and unsolicited intervention by government.

Recent development on the political scene have also had for reaching effects on trade unions in the country with the events of June 12, 1993 and ASUU,NUPENG and PENGASSAN, imprisonment of their key officials and the subsequent appointment of a sole administrator for the NLC.

Trade unions have been recognized for many reasons as playing a vital role in representing the interest of the employees. It is concerned with the regulation of employment relations.

It could be seen that, in all societies a trade union is an association of people at work or workers and in some cases employers as well. The legal definition of trade union as any combination of workers or employees whether temporary or permanent the purpose of which is to regulate the terms and conditions of employment tends for purpose of analysis to be too restrictive and somewhat misleading. How much a trade union goes in, to determine organizational growth deserve empirical inquiry.

If the workers are positively rewarded, the tendency is that those who have the ability will perform their functions effectively and efficiently thereby increasing the growth of organization. The formation of trade union was to work towards the furtherance of workers interest as far as regulating the terms and conditions of employment is concerned.

Presently, in an effort to protect workers interest, unions and to deviate a little from that main goal. Some unions leaders even use the platform of trade union to settle personal scores.

Trade unions plays an important role on the government organization growth thereby ensuring a smooth process of settling organizational conflicts which will help to maintain peace and harmony. It fights for compensation to workers that suffer from injury while in service.

The terms and conditions of employment must be viewed very widely if the role and character of trade union are to be properly understood. It is true that the early unions came into being in 18th and 19th centuries in Britain and other industrialized countries as a means of fighting against the exploitative propensities of employment and to obtain improved wages and salaries and conditions of employment particularly as regards to hours of work. Today, however trade unions are concerned with the whole life style as well as the standard of living of their members.

Brief History Of The Nigeria Union Of Teachers (Nut)

Of the three pioneer unions and indeed for very many years on the trade union scene, the Nigeria union of teachers remained the best run and the best organized trade union. On 8th July 1931, nineteen delegates representing five centers, Abeokuta, Agege, Ibadan, Ijebu-ode and Lagos met at the C.M.S Grammar school Lagos.

To inaugurate the Nigeria union of teachers. Officers appointed included such prominent men as Revd. I.O Ransom Kuti, president J.O Lucas and R.R. Kuye, vice president, T.K. Cameron, secretary and E.E Esau, assistant secretary. At this first meeting the aims of the Nigeria union of teachers were agreed to be:

  1. To study, promote and improve conditions affecting the teaching profession in government organization.
  2. To create a better understanding among the teachers in Nigeria.
  3. To submit to the government the opinions of teachers on matters directly or indirectly affecting the teaching profession in government organization etc.

Among the resolutions taken at the resumed sitting on 9th July was one saying that the educated department of the government been in formed by the unions secretary of the existence of the Nigeria union of teachers and a list of its officers and its readiness loyalty and lawfully to cooperate with the aims and ideals of the department by 1932 the number of branch unions had risen from five to seven.

A measure of cooperation had indeed developed between the director of education and the union. The director expressed a wish to be present at union meetings and also suggested amendments and alternations to the draft constitution of the union. The director was made patron of the union and, in his presidential address at the meeting of 9th January 1934, the president had this to say about him.

As can be seen, although the teachers realized early the immense value of organizing in order to improve and maintain their working conditions, the Nigeria union of teachers clearly did not regard itself as a trade union in a member of the union, Mr. Nyon, in moving a resolution for better pay for teachers, maintained that the union was a trade union and did not exist to agitate for better wages and that the question of salary was a secondary importance.

By 1941, however, tempers were beginning to rise. The union has changed from its conservatism. During the depression years of the Second World War many teachers were retrenched and may more paid what the president in his address to the 1935 conference called “starvation wages”.

Agitation for better conditions led to strained relations with both the government and the voluntary agency schools’ authorities, mainly missionaries. On 6th October 1941, the federal executive council of the union held its first emergency meeting to consider Dr. Henry Carr’s challenge at the board of education in February1941 of the union’s right to direct communication and even to representation on that board. In 1945, the Nigeria union of teachers joined with others to form the supreme council of Nigeria workers which council was among the organizations which gave evidence before the Tudor Davies commission which investigated the claims leading up to the 1945 general strike.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Trade union movement in government organization has not been without its impediments. A new entrant to wage earning employment in government organization is often confused when he hears or reads from the government press about workers organization being referred to as factions. So also are foreign visitors and unions observant of the incessant situations in both the private and public organization alike.

The acceptance and recognition of trade union in this country has always been more or less balance by the sanctions of the law which are called into play when the unions becomes engaged to industrial agitation has often led to the excesses. The trade union movement in this country has always involved feelings of exasperation and often fears in government and the general public alike. Most of the hostility is born out of lack of clear understanding of the legal position role of the trade union themselves.

On the other hand it has to be, bear in mind that the union are weak and unstable association. An attempt is therefore made to be possibly established probable reasons or cause as to why this is so. It is in the light of the above that we must consider the plight of the unions in the face of these almost insurmountable problems.

Members of the union and their leaders are not well educated. They are not well trained in the art of trade unions and such lack the necessary skill needed for negotiation and collective bargaining. Therefore, trade union leaders need to be trained.

Union leaders have always involved in the misuse of union funds. Before the introduction of the check off system, embezzlement of fund was very common with union leaders.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

In this work, a thorough study of labour as represented in trade union will be undertaken. Its development, objectives, problems and achievements will also be examined. A study of conflicts and disputes, the machineries for their settlement and resolution will also be made. The machinery for government intervention in such dispute will be discussed as well.

To the individual worker, an understanding of how trade union work for his interest will serve, to strengthen his loyalty and allegiance.

To managers, there is no doubt that improved labour management relation, will improve productivity for their various organizations. It is therefore, hoped that this work will contribute to the achievement of this.

And to the government and labour administrators, its believed will lead to better and rational decision on their part. It is therefore hoped that this work will help to create greater understanding among the unions and the management organizations of the rights and duties and in conservance help to dispel the desire for irrational or hasty action.

1.4 Research Question

  1. What are the procedures for settlement of trade union dispute?
  2. What is the appraisal of the trade union on effective labour management relation in government organization?
  3. What are the causes of trade union disputes and the types?
  4. What is the essence and objectives of trade union?

1.5 Statement Of Hypothesis

Based on the research problem above, the following hypotheses are formulated for the study.

Hypothesis 1
  • Ho: Trade unionisms do not have any significant impact on organization growth.
  • H1: Trade unionism has a significant impact on organizational growth.
Hypothesis II
  • Ho: The activities of trade unions do not significantly affect the condition of work in an organization.
  • H1: The activities of trade unionism significantly affect the condition of work in an organization.
Hypothesis III
  • Ho: Trade unions do not play a significantly role in resolving conflicts in an organization.
  • H1: Trade unions play a significant role in resolving conflict in an organization.

1.6 Significance Of The Study

The study will help us to identify most of the problems facing trade union and proffer solutions.

  1. This work also aims at discovering the importance of trade union in government organization.
  2. Outsiders would also learn some moral rights about trade unions and also know how to solve them.

1.7 Scope Of The Study

This study is limited to trade union in government organization with particular reference to the organization with particular reference to the Nigeria labour union of teachers (NUT).

1.8 Limitation Of The Study

  1. This study also met some problems arising. Time was a serious constraint in that, the researcher intermittently had to stop work to alter lectures, take exam etc.
  2. Inadequate funds due to the finance of the research contribute a problem to the study.
  3. The researcher encountered problems of lack of effective data for the study. There were no sufficient data on trade unions in Imo state.
  4. Also some of the officials were constantly too busy to listing to the researching and process of distributing questionnaires among the staff was reluctant to collect them. Some collected but refused to answer that, especially among the lower cadres.
  5. Finally, the researcher succeeded in distributing the questionnaires through the number of respondent, which is below her expectation.

1.9 Definition Of Terms

Trade Union:

Is a voluntary association of wages earners in any trade, organized to protect their interest in wages and contributions of service etc. against the employers of labour.


This is a process of achieving organizational goals or objectives through the use of people and other resources of the organizations.


This is an establishment group of people who make and enforce laws in the state. Government is a institution of the state by which the people organize themselves and manage their affairs in order to promote greater happiness of the greater number of the people in the state.


A structure or network of relationships among individuals and position in a work setting and the process by which the structure is created, maintained and used.


Something that delays or stops the progress of something.


Worry and anxiety


Unfriendly or aggressive


Difficult and sad situation

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion And Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

In this chapter is the recommendation and conclusion of my research work with a view or purpose of the work being used to advance or develop trade union in its relationship with the government for economic development and growth.

5.2 Summary Of Findings

The study emphasized on the importance of trade union in government organization. The study also showed that trade union development was slow and generally emerged from the efforts of workers to seek an improvement of existing conditions. The study also showed that trade unions are weak and unstable associations with or the whole ineffective leadership. The study also showed that trade agitation has often led to the excesses of trade unions.
Finally, the study also showed that the legal position and role of the trade union is not an illegal pursuit in any government organization.

5.3 Conclusion

This study set out to examine the research question/ hypothesis and valididate them by the availability of data. We wanted to find out whether trade union exist and still in existence in order to promote effective labour management in a government organization.

Trade union enabled correctiveness when pressing for demands from management. The agreements reached if satisfactory could serve as a motivation for both management and employees. Participative decision making within the trade unions and management will lead to a stable atmosphere or organizational growth. It is only within this stability can good organizational growth be achieved. Satisfactory work conditions whether achieved by trade unions or management is necessary for enhanced organizational growth. Despite the existence of unions, management is still been by the work as the highest authority within the organization as such laxity on the part of workers is not likely to arise.

Finally, trade unions could contribute to better organizational growth for their objectives agreement may not necessarily impair organizational growth. We can conclude in the light of saying that trade unions provide educational opportunities to improve and broaden the knowledge of their members through conferences, seminars and symposia etc and creating forum for sharing of views local annual and delegate conferences are organized to broaden the knowledge of the workers for the promotion of industrial relations in Nigeria. Trade union members may through these media, learn about the state of industrial relations problems of wage system, the conditions of national economy and the enterprise conditions, for members to act in consonance with the activities of the union, they must be adequately educated.

5.4 Recommendation

The concept of trade union within the organization is home out of the need to ensure good growth on the organization and protection of the overall interest of employees. It is also a fact that without a responsible and result oriented work force, organizational growth will surely benefit both employers and employees in the form of good returns on investment and job security respectively. So in order to improve the effect of trade union on organizational growth the following suggestions are made;

  1. Trade unions should avoid the path confrontation but continue with dialogue through collective bargaining; also their demands should be realistic and in line with what obtains in the industry or related ones.
  2. An existence of formal two way communication between management and trade unions will ensure that right messages are properly understood and on time too. This will help in maintaining a long term cordial relationship between the two parties by minimizing misconception.
  3. On management part, problems can be forestalled through participation decision making in which trade union representatives are involved in major decision affects its members or drawing up and the review of career development programmes.
  4. If economic development is to succeed trade unions, the state ands employers must cooperate.
  5. Trade unions should represent workers in all economic committees.
  6. Trade union members should elect officials or leaders that will represent them and carryout their interest and not detect those with political ambition who are only there for selfish interests.
  7. Government has to stop constant intervention in labour matters because most times, this disturb labour activities except where there is the need for it to do so especially where the parties involved cannot settle such dispute amicably.
  8. The trade union should as much as possible solve the organizational problems such as lack of finance, high level of illiteracy among members, poor leadership, lack of unity among trade union members and other relating problems.
  9. Finally, unions should ensure that their goals are in congruency with the achievements of the overall, organizational objective on the other hand, management should always provide an avenue for dialogue as both parties are supposed to co-exist for better organizational growth.

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