Trade Unionism And It’s Impact On Workers Welfare In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Industrial Relations and Personnel Management

Trade Unionism And It’s Impact On Workers Welfare In Nigeria


This study focuses on the trade unionism its impact on workers welfare in Nigeria, using maritime workers’ union of Nigeria as a case study. This relationship is analyzed empirically, using the one-way analysis of variance and Pearson product moment correlation statistics were used to analyze the data. The findings showed that the level of negotiation adopted by union members exerts significant influence on workers’ welfare. The study observed that the deprivation of workers from benefiting from their welfare package either by management or sometimes by ill-mannered union leaders was responsible for majority of the conflicts and strikes in work settings in our contemporary economy. Accordingly, trade unionism should be encouraged in all work settings and its leader vested with knowledge of industrial relations, union leaders should be individuals who seek after the welfare of its members and not their personal benefits.

Table Of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title
  • Declaration
  • Approval
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of Content

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background To The Study
  • 1.2 Statement Of The Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives Of The Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Conceptual Review
  • 2.2 Definition Of Trade Union
  • 2.3 Objectives Of Trade Union
  • 2.4 Reasons Why Workers Join Union
  • 2.5 Characteristics Of Trade Union
  • 2.6 Trade Union Problems In Nigeria
  • 2.7 Roles Of Trade Union In Industrial Harmony And Development Of Organizations In Nigeria

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population Of The Study
  • 3.3 Sample And Sampling Technique
  • 3.4 Instrument Of Data Collection
  • 3.5 Method Of Data Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results And Discussion

  • 4.1 Results
  • 4.2 Discussion Of Findings

Chapter Five

5.0 Conclusion And Recommendation

  • 5.1 Conclusion
  • 5.2 Recommendations
  • References

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background To The Study

The term trade union has a variety of meanings depending on the perception of workers and the definition imposed by the legal frameworks in many countries.

Some workers organizations call themselves staff or professional associations, or senior staff associations, but all these are valid examples of trade unions. Furthermore, trade union laws in the. UK and Nigeria defines a trade union as:

“Any combination whether temporary or permanent, the principal objectives of which under it’s constitution are………. the regulation of the relationship between workmen or between masters and masters, or the imposing of restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business and also the provision of benefits to members”.

An alternative definition of the term Trade Union is “…an association of wage/salary earners formed with the objective of safeguarding and improving the wage and employment conditions of it’s members and to raise members social status and standard of living in the community.

The above definition emphasizes the sale and purchase of labour power as a factor of production. The emphasis on the terms, conditions of service is perhaps the factor that distinguishes trade union from social clubs and other political organization.

Analyzing the Nigerian Trade Union so far, the researcher has been able to point to the fact that over the years, trade unions in Nigeria have evolved from informal to highly formal bureaucratic organizations. In the process, an unstable, yet unique system of industrial relations seems to have emerged in Nigeria.

However, inspite of the apparent militancy and power of the unions, very little is known about the internal dynamics of the unions. The closest attempt (Owarieta 1997) merely addressed the general factors that lead to industrial conflicts in industries.

Thus, such fundamental questions as the level and quality of trade union organization, their defining ideologies and the motives of the union 1 Waders are not examined. As Hartman (1978:70) has argued. Some environmental constrains also contributes and impinge on industrial relations in Nigeria. They are:

  1. The tendency of labour disputes to become destructive, and the state to deploy coercive measures in it’s control. Citing an ex ample with the Nigeria oil industry which can be said to be acknowledged as the most strategic and this is perhaps why it has experienced a lot of bitter industrial disputes. After the annulment of the June 12 1993 presidential election by the military dictatorship, the unions in the oil industry embarked upon one of the longest and most consequential strikes in the nation’s industrial history. The strike ended up with the arrest and detention of the leaders of the two workers’ unions in the industry (National Union of Petroleum, Energy and Gas) NUPENG and (Petroleum, Energy and Gas senior staff Association of Nigeria) PENGASS-‘%,N as well as the proscription of the unions, the branch unions continued to embark on both official and wildcat strike action. The frequency and success with which the strike actions were prosecuted have led to the impression that the trade unions in the oil industry have become too militant and powerful for management End employers in the industry and the Nigerian government as a whole (Owarieta, 1997).
  2. Inability of the trade union leaders for a long time to conduct -Trade Union matters with deserved maturity. Also, unions are increasingly being run by full-time officials. These officials get paid more, than workers and see the union as “just another job”. At times, some of these leaders become conservative on some issues that need a deserved approach, they’ll rather spend their- time negotiating and sometimes they even make undemocratic decisions. Some even oppose socialism. The NLC was torn apart by leadership struggles, ideological differences and ethno-regional conflict. It was affect in 1988 after disagreements over election of its leadership resulting in the federal government’s appointing an administrator for several months.
  3. The dominance of the employers’ lobby by multinationals to determine with the states’ support, the direction and size c;; pay, perquisites and employment conditions.
  4. The undue role of the various states as explained by the need to control labour for development efforts.
  5. The inconsistencies of the state as socio-economic policies are jettisoned midstream and others are adopted in their places.
  6. The difficulty of separating pure labour from political disturbances.
  7. The paternalistic value of the workers that put elaborate respect on elders rather than on authorities and thus the reliance on informal machinery like elders; religious ministers and state governs -s for settling disputes.
    These features are expected to continue because industrialization is yet to be carried to a satisfactory level.
  8. Some of the trade unions still continue their seeming misunderstanding of their roles in the development process structure of ownership of industry has not changed. The political system has not matured to the extent that instability and thence inconsistencies of government policies can be forestalled. The state has so much motivation to continue it’s intervention in the trade union system. It would appear therefore that the astrictive features that give the developed capitalist their superiority of their system of the country . are strong enough to persist into the immediate future.
  9. Lack of professional union officials who do not survey the real needs of the union to decide what their priority should be. Some have limited political vision on the role of trade unions in the society,

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

It is a well known fact that the growth and development of any nation depends on the structures it has carved out for itself. In Nigeria, amidst the various arms of the government which has been working tirelessly to ensure the growth and sustenance of the Nigerian state is the emergence of trade unions. The colonial influence in Nigeria has left much to be desired. The emergence of these trade unions has become a desired form of association in order to restore the dignity of professional workers and more so ensure greater level of overall national output which is part of nation building. These unions operate on different levels depending on their modus operandi. They use different means to press home their needs seeking for recognition in the political sphere. To ensure peace and as part of the process of resolving any industrial dispute, the unions in dispute often enter into some kind of collective bargaining with the government or agency involved. Over the years these trade unions have preserved in their collective efforts to maintain a standardized culture in the labour market. This stems from the clarion call by the nationalist movement for collective co-operation and nation building. The impact of these trade unions on the Nigerian government cannot be over emphasized. Their persistent push and prowess have always put the government/agencies on their toes hoping to meet the workers demands for improved national output and national development.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

It is the aim of this study to evaluate the impact of trade unionism on worker’s welfare in Nigeria. The specific objectives are;

  1. To assess the types and characteristics of trade Unionism in Nigeria
  2. To assess the impact of trade unionism and worker’s welfare in Nigeria
  3. To identify the problems and challenges of Trade unionism in Nigeria

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions guided the study;

  1. What are the types and characteristics of trade Unionism in Nigeria?
  2. What is the impact of trade unionism and worker’s welfare in Nigeria?
  3. What are the problems and challenges of Trade unionism in Nigeria?

Chapter Five

5.0 Conclusion And Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

Trade unionism in Nigeria has helped to bring about higher nominal wages in the modern sector through independent commissions but despite the carefully constructed institutional framework and the vowed commitment of all parties concerned, voluntary collective bargaining has failed to function as a significant mechanism for fixing wages, implying defective collective bargaining in Nigeria.

However, it is clear from this study, that workers welfare is influenced by some factors including level of negotiation, and union‟s education of members. Skillful and well educated union leaders can make a great difference to the effective management of labour demands. The enormous face- up or conflicts observed between management and workers is due to the fact that union leaders are not living up to their responsibilities in terms of engaging in high level of responsible negotiation with management, education of members to know their rights in the organizations.

5.2 Recommendations

These findings points to an important fact: the welfare situation of workers in the Nigerian maritime sector needs more attention from all stakeholders – the government, the Union and the workers themselves. Accordingly workers in the maritime sector should ensure that:

  1. Union leaders should only be persons with high ability to negotiate with management for welfare of its members and not individuals who will compromises the Union’s stand on personal benefits.
  2. Union leaders should ensure the education of members. This can be done through the organization of seminars and workshops for its members, which will enhance their knowledge and conflicts in work settings reduced to the bearest minimum.
  3. Trade unionism should be encouraged in all work settings and its leaders should be vested with knowledge of industrial relations.

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