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SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF INDUSTRIAL ACTIONS IN NIGERIA

Project Topic: Evaluating Social and Economic Effects of Industrial Actions in Nigeria


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1  BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Over the last three decades, there have been more frequent industrial actions among Nigerian public workers. Most of the agitations bother on the salary increase, condition and welfare of the staff members. Industrial action which starts at the instance of the workers is usually informed by workers’ desire to improve their condition of service or in some cases fight for their right which might have been infringed. In the process of workers fighting for their right through the application of industrial action, a lot of havoc has been caused on the social life and economy of Nigeria. It is against this background that this study seeks to look at the social and economic cost of industrial action in Nigeria.

The issue of industrial action has been a recurring decimal in the history of Nigeria organizations. What will go down in the annals history as one of the earliest attempts by the Nigeria workers to emancipate himself from the British over Lords took place at Enugu. Events thus rolled on quickly to its tragic end, on 18th of November 1949 when the coal-miners were fired at by the police and 21 of them died from the gunshots and many others were wounded. The absence of co-ordinate efforts and policy of the management had ruptured into open managerial irresponsibility.

In any organizational set-up where there is lack of industrial peace, people and in most cases the society tends to suffer directly or indirectly. Nigeria has in recent times been ridden with industrial disharmony and inmost cases have resulted to industrial action. The country as a whole has suffered social and economic deprivation in one way or the other due to incessant actions by workers in various fields of human endeavour.

It is pertinent to note that whenever we talk of organization, three sets of factors come to mind, and they are the labour, the management and the state. According to Hano and page (1990:167) “labour means the workforce or the human, physical and mental effort and skills involved in industry, commerce etc”. They went further to explain that managements are individuals responsible for directing and running organization. Also they stated that the state represents the government or its agencies responsible for the guidance of the authorities within the area of authority.

It is an established principle of law that workers reserve the right to withhold their labour over an issue, which concerns their conditions of employment. The right of workers to go on industrial action is an essential element in the principle of collective bargaining. Studies have shown that industrial actions by workers have become synonymous with the civil service units. Sometime in 2003 the labour in Anambra State was on industrial action for almost one year to press home their demand for the payment of their salaries and allowances. As a result the school system suffered a serious setback.

Also, the academia is not left out of the threat of industrial action. The Academic Staff Union of Nigeria Universities (ASUU) has been on industrial action on several occasions in the past to demand for things which include: University Autonomy, more funding from government to the University, academic freedom and more human working conditions. In the year 2010, the Academic Staff Union of Universities in the five Eastern State of Nigeria went on Industrial action for 6 months rendering all the students in the region useless and hopeless. The university union went on this industrial action to press home their demand for proper funding and the implementation of the agreement they entered into with the Federal Government about five years ago in which the governors of the South Eastern State have refused to implement.

Between the year 1999 and 2007 under the regime of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on a countless occasions called out its members all over Nigeria for a Nationwide Industrial action to protest the Federal government deregulation of downstream Sector of petroleum industry that resulted to an increase in the prices of petroleum product. The Nigeria labour congress has also in this year 2011 went on a nationwide industrial action to compel the Federal Government implement the new national minimum wage of N18,000.00  passed into law by the National Assembly.

1.2  STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

It does not require clarity to state that the issue of industrial dispute is one of the notable setbacks to the progress of any developing country like Nigeria. The effect of industrial action is felt in almost all the spheres of human endeavor including the government, families of the striking workers, employers, organizational output and the nation in general. The effect on the general economic activities is normally great as it affects both the Gross National Product (GNP} and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Families of the striking workers find themselves in a pathetic condition as their bread winners could no longer meet up with their responsibilities. The youth among the striking workers resort to social vices which include destruction of lives and property and in turn affects cost of production and eventually low productivity of output. In addition to the above, human lives are some times lost during industrial action which might include members of the striking workers or ordinary members of the public. Consequent to the above problems experienced during industrial actions, the study is therefore focuses on evaluating social and economic effects of industrial actions in Nigeria.

1.3  OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The objectives of this study therefore include:-

  1. It will enable the government (employer) to identify those factors that lead to incessant industrial actions of labour unions in Nigeria
  2. To identify the social-economic effects of industrial actions in Nigeria
  3. To evaluate the causes of incessant industrial actions in Nigeria
  4. To identify the role of labour unions in managing   industrial actions in Nigeria.
  5. To suggest solutions to the problems of incessant industrial actions of Nigeria

1.4  RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  • What are the socio-economic effects of industrial actions in Nigeria?
  • What are the causes of industrial actions in Nigerian?
  • What is the role of labour unions in managing industrial actions in Nigeria?
  • What are the solutions to the problems of incessant industrial actions of Nigeria workers?

1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

  1. H0: A decrease in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), under-utilization of resources and loss of lives are not socio-economic effects of industrial action in Nigeria.

        H1:           A decrease in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), under-utilization of resources and loss of lives are socio-economic effects of industrial action in Nigeria.

  1. H0: The issue of upward review of salaries/wages and non implementation of agreement are not the causes of industrial action of Nigeria workers.

        H1:  The issue of upward review of salaries/wages and non implementation of agreement are the causes of industrial action of Nigeria workers.

  1. H0:  Settling of disputes between government (employers) and employees is not role of labour union in managing industrial actions in Nigeria

       H1:    Settling of disputes between government (employers) and employees is the role of labour union in managing industrial actions in Nigeria

  1. H0:   Improvement in the condition of service and non-     violation of employees’ rights are not possible solutions to the problem of incessant industrial action.

        H1:  Improvement in the condition of service and non- violation of employees’ rights are possible solutions to the problem of incessant industrial action.

1.6   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study is significant because:

  1. It will identify the factors responsible for the incessant industrial actions of labour unions in Nigeria.
  2. The findings of this research will help the policy makers (government and private sectors) to choose policy initiative that enhances industrial harmony.
  3. It would serve as a reference material for other students or individuals especially those who may wish to research further on the subject matter.

1.7  SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The study focuses on evaluating social and economic effects of industrial actions in Nigeria. The study covers these areas: the definition and concept of industrial action, types of industrial action, major causes of industrial action, why workers join trade unions, Industrial relation and trade unionism, planning of industrial action and settlement of dispute.

1.8   LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

The major constraints encountered in this study include:

  1. Time Constraint: Considering the limited time given for the study, the researcher could not get all the information needed for the study.
  2. Financial Constraint: The researcher did not have sufficient money to carry out the study. Due to financial constraint, the researcher could not visit all the places where information relevant to the study could be obtained.
  3. Attitude of the Respondents: Some of the respondents were reluctant to co-operate with the researcher as they felt there is nothing to benefit from the study.

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Project Topic: Evaluating Social and Economic Effects of Industrial Actions in Nigeria

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