Friday, January 13, 2012


ASUU and FGN have been at loggerhead again. The strike holds indefinitely and this time, it promises to be very devastating. Considering past experience on strike actions embarked upon by academic staff in Nigeria, it seems palpable that strike has always been the last resort for the union to press home demands. I think the potency of ASUU version of strike actions is obsolete, weak and increasingly ineffective. A new and or corollary method is needed if it is to achieve the purpose for which it is embarked upon.

In employment relationship, the traditional purpose of industrial strike is for organised labour to continually inflict economic pain on recalcitrant employers till demands are pressed home and met. But the FGN-ASUU version of industrial actions poses reasons for scepticism. The employer no longer feels any pinch from strike action. Rather the poor man on the streets; recharge card sellers, commercial bus drivers, photographers, food sellers, and book sellers, who operate on and around campuses, are the ones receiving the resultant economic burden. Students, suffer and teeth-garnish as a result of lingering industrial strikes and acrimony in the ivory towers. They are doomed to vagabondage and crime as they soon become effective tool in the hands of rapacious and nefarious political leaders who use them for perpetrating their political violence through rigging, thuggery or other vices. The government they fight is not anyway affected and we make noise in the media just for nothing.

Another point I feel should be of concern to ASUU is that not all universities in the nation joins when strikes are declared by the union. The Chairman of Unilorin branch was recently quoted in one of the dailies that the branch union has not been interacting with its national body for more than a decade now. In Nnamdi Azikwe University, where I currently serve, ASUU seems to be nonexistence. The University of Nigeria (Nsukka) and one university in Delta also do not go on strike. There are other universities like these. Although we may claim that these nonconforming universities are infinitesimal in number to negatively affect the progress of ASUU. I tell you, loophole is loophole no matter the size. What this means is that the union is lacking some form of solidarity. The spirit and principle of “esprit de corps” is no longer there and this fundamentally undermines union strength and renders labour struggle as efforts in futility. ASUU is supposed to be the most learned among unions in Nigeria to recognise and understand this fact. I understand that we now practice “open shop” as contained in the Trade Union (amendment) Act of 2005, which forbids any union to force union member to join strike. This clause was premeditatedly included in the law by Obasanjo administration to render union less vibrant. The Nigerian government takes into cognisance all these lapses and because of that it sees ASUU as a toothless dog barking at its owner. Even if it bites, it cannot inflict pain and the owner will punish it by refusing to feed it. Government officials jokingly discuss these issues among themselves in social gatherings and in the dinning table with their family while the academic bodies and the general public languish at home.

The question is this; wouldn’t government honour the agreement it reached two years ago if the outcomes of strike really hurt it so bad? Government seem not to feel any threatened by ASUU strike. Strike action in our universities is beginning to become obsolete and less effective as tool for economic infliction on government. It rather boosts its (government) morale. Government officials often use the period of industrial strike to showcase their personal limbo and ideological balderdash on Television Stations and in national dailies. Doing this gives them a boost of ego because it makes them feel in control of national affairs. This is one of the reasons why they are recklessly insensitive to ASUU’s bluffs during agitations. It is this reason that make government toy with the source from where they got educated and empowered to attain the various positions they currently hold in the country. The result of this is a growing rot in the educational sectors and rapid knowledge declination, growing illiteracy rate and criminal inclinations among Nigerian youths.

Therefore it becomes imperative for Nigerian labour leaders, industrial relations experts and especially ASUU to fasten their belt and immediately embark on rigorous research to faction out alternative, or a corollary, to strike actions that will spare masses from being at the receiving end of the harsh outcomes of strikes. They should study the characteristics of modern day government in Nigeria and craft out or device a new instrument of economic coercion capable of bringing modern day Nigerian government to its kneel without giving us masses undeserved socio-economic torture. But another set of disheartening questions abounds; how can credible research be conducted in dilapidated academic environment where educational values are fast decaying and priorities are blurred if not in limbo? Which professor in Nigeria today can boast of living a decent life as those in politics? Which of our academicians is happy enough to voluntarily embark on research journey to proffer solutions to the aggravating labour problems in the country? Even if alternative and workable solution is designed and developed, will Nigerian government and the elite class provide environment or avenue for its successful adoption and implementation? I believe all hope is not lost.

What therefore is the way forward? I will suggest that First, ASUU needs to go back to the drawing board to re-strategise ways through which its members will have unquenchable confident in it and identify with it at every point in time regardless of law. When the national body of the union declares strike actions, it should be in the interest of all members or in accordance with what union members consented to. A situation when some members opt out of national industrial struggle declared by the national body is uncalled-for and indicates union weakness. It constitutes blacklegs and undermines the potency of strike action. A union that cannot successfully integrate and harmonise members’ diverse interests cannot build an undefeatable army for national battle; at least not with Nigerian government. ASUU should immediately do something about this.

Second, I think gone are the days when government reached collective agreement with labour and implemented it without much delay. Today, government only signs agreement just for the sake of pressure and because it is legally bounded to bargain with union to negotiate terms and condition of service in line with the trend of economic or inflationary situation in the country. Since this is the case, it means that reaching agreement in this country is one and implementing is another. There is need for a new mechanism for timely implementation just as collective bargaining is for reaching collective agreement. This “implementation mechanism” or you may call it “enforcement procedure” should be consciously designed and should be legally bounding so that once agreement is reached; the next phase is for union to quickly activate the enforcement mechanism in place. This enforcement mechanism is best sought in the legal institutions. To do this the educational institutions spearheaded by ASUU can form a synergy with legal institutions in the creation of some form of pact where laws will be formulated. Since the struggle for educational resuscitation in Nigeria is a concern for all, a synergy of lecturers and law makers and enforcers will make meaningful impact in the struggle. Certain conditions will contain in the law or you may call it a “bill”. These conditions include;

 That all and intending public office holder be prevented by the law from enrolling their wards in either private schools or universities abroad. The rationale for this is simple. A caretaker or someone shepherding a group of people will exhibit high protective and progress-oriented attributes, on the group, if he has a stake in it than when he has nothing to loose. In democracy, government is elected to represent the interest of the masses and provide for them, through the wealth of the nation, the basic necessities of life including education. There is no reason why government cannot enrol their children in the educational institutions it funds and manages. If there is, why? I do not think this particular condition will amount to infringement on the right of the children in anyway because it is temporary and it is by virtue of the crucial position that the parents hold in the country.

 Again, the period of time within which agreement reached can be implemented should be well stipulated in the bill/law; conditions for further extension of such stipulated period should also be well stated out. The reason for this is evident in the current FG/ASUU saga. In the real sense, the agreement reached two years ago ought to have been under new consideration of being reviewed and renewed with the current trend of economic situation in the country. This is because the amount of fuel per litter in 2009 is not the same in 2011 and can never be in 2012. Undoubtedly, the country’s economic conditions under which the 2009 agreement was reached must have changed, if not deteriorated in 2012. Apart from this, concerted efforts were exerted and series of industrial bluffs took place before the 2009 agreement was reached. Yet two years after the agreement nothing fruitful surface. This renders all efforts; time, money and energy spent in reaching the 2009 agreement useless and unproductive. It ultimately brings us back to square one. This explains why this section should be emphasised in the bill.

If these two conditions and others as may be considered necessary by both FG and ASUU, are included in the bill and passed in to law, it will form a very effective corollary to ASUU strike. With this new law, ASUU can go on strike and simultaneously drag FG to court for breach of law. And if truly no one is above the law, the two parties will be compelled to treat each other with respect by honouring agreement they both voluntary reached. While litigation is on along with strike action, the wives and children of the government, whose university is affected by ASUU strike, will also mount more pressure on government to speed up in resolving issues with academic staff. This will force government to rise up to the demands of education in the country.

Very certainly, my opinion on the lingering industrial actions in our educational institutions which leaves turbulent outcomes on the masses may be considered uneasily achievable. It is however a way towards ensuring radical changes in Nigeria. It is therefore worth trying. Law was one of the tools used by government to weaken the potency of industrial strike and I think it is not bad if Labour uses the same tool against government. Besides, if same sex bill can be passed into law without much ado, I believe education should enjoy more priority than same sex issues. A bill aiming for educational resuscitation is therefore worth trying. May God help us!

Friday, August 7, 2009


Many a time, among students of industrial relations, we claim that conflict is endemic in every human grouping and especially in the world of work but we have always failed to give the basic empirical and theoretical analysis underpinning such claim. Karl Marx’s theory of ‘Class Segregation’ therefore will help a great deal in this analysis.
Although, Marx’s theory is basically on the society at large, it is one of the most relevant analytical tools in the explanation of work place and industrial conflict. This is because the workplaces and organizations are microcosms and reflexions of the larger society. While explaining the conflict in workplaces, Karl Marx used ‘historical sketch’ and ‘economic structure’ of the society. He differentiated between the supra-structure and super-structure of the society. Using historical sketch, Marx opined that people had lived a ‘natural life’ in the primitive society. He refers to the primitive days as ‘days of classlessness’ where people get involved in works that suit them. Although, there had been few segregation during the feudal system, Marx believed that the industrial revolution of the late 18th century worsen the situation. To Marx the basic feature of industrialization is the ‘structure’ of the factory system which is strengthened by bureaucracy and thus, brought about class division in the society and work organizations.
Karl Marx used both ‘class segregation’ and ‘class division’ interchangeably but did not explain what he really meant by ‘class’. He however explained it in terms of control and ownership of means of factors of production within the factory setting. The ownership of factors of production thus becomes the yardstick with which Marx explained the division of classes in a society or within workplaces. According to him, those who owned and control the means of factors of production are the first class whom he referred to as ‘Bourgeoisies’, capitalists, affluent, employers, etc. The other class according to him are referred to as Proletariats, the have nots, the oppressed, the employed etc. and they are the one who do not own the means of factors of production but who have their effort and skills to sell to the capitalist and enable him activate all of his means of factors of productions. The capitalist cannot single handedly do the work by himself and cannot control all the factors at his disposal to do the job by themselves except with the ‘labour’ of the proletariats that must be used in activating and putting to use all the factors of production. The proletariat who happens to be the second class in Marxian perspective can only offer his labour to the capitalist provided that he gets the reward needed to take care of himself and his estates (family) and also to survive in life.
Marx differentiated between true class and pseudo-class. He views the two forms in which classes can be manifested as CLASS IN ITSELF and CLASS FOR ITSELF. The latter is what he regarded as true class which can only come when one class becomes aware of his conflicting relations with the other class. Without this AWARENESS Marx fell that a class only constitutes the former who suffers the negative impact of segregation but who does not see it as suffering. Marx referred to this as ‘false consciousness. But when a class realizes that he is being exploited and suffers unjustly, then his false consciousness is transformed to ‘class consciousnesses and thus, a class for itself.
The emergence of conflict in workplace according to Marx can be understood by explaining certain concepts which includes:
(1) Money
(2) Capital
(3) The general law of capitalist accumulation
He began the explanation of conflict from the side of the Bourgeoisie who will always want to accumulate wealth through proper management of his money, capital and property. To the capitalist, capital is not money but money that must produce more money. The trueness of capital is determined by a process which is depicted as M1, C and M2. The M1 is the initial amount that the capitalist invested upon by purchasing commodity (C) which he sells at higher price to get a profitable return (M2) of the M1.
Secondly, for M1 (capital) to continue yielding profit (M2), it must abide by what Marx called ‘the general law of capitalist accumulation’ which states that ‘for M1 to continue yielding M2, all COST must be reduced back towards ZERO, lets not forget that ‘Cost’ in the production process that capitalist must reduced back to zero also includes the cost of labour. It therefore means that for capitalist to continue to maximize his profit he must endeavour to reduce wages and salaries of workers. This is no doubt a condition that workers with ‘Class Consciousness’ will always resent.
At this juncture, there is no need explaining why the two classes in workplace will always be at loggerhead considering the poor state of the proletariate who has nothing to ascertain his survival but his labour that he offers to the Bourgeoisie for payment which the Bourgeois must also purchase at the lowest cost.
The submission above explains the typical nature of industrial or workplace conflict. However it is important to finish up with what Marx feels about how conflict will end in industrial organization. Marx did not blame the capitalist per say but he blames ‘the logic of the capitalist system’ i.e. the bureaucratic structure. He believes that it is this structure that perpetuates the distance between the capitalist and the proletariat. He claims that the proletariats having converted their false consciousness to class consciousness and becomes a class for itself then they will form a REVOLUTIONARY PARTY that will help them start the class struggle against the structure of the capitalist system and replace it with socialist system where classlessness will be reinstalled. The revolutionary party that Marx talks about explains the roles played by TRADE UNIONS in workplaces and ‘classlessness’ in Marx explanation can be conceptualized as industrial democracy that we advocate for in industries today.
By Oludeyi Olukunle Saheed.
Industrial And labour Relations,
Tai solarin University of Education,
Ijagun, Ijebu Ode,


By Oludeyi Olukunle Saheed,
Industrial And Labour Relations,
Tai solarin University of Education,
Ijagun, Ijebu Ode,

Of recent in one of our discussions, my friends and I were deliberating on what are the basic justifications for Industrial Relations to be classified as a social science course or discipline. It was from that conversation that I came to understand that some of us who study industrial relations and who love the course as a discipline cannot defend the assertion that ‘Industrial Relations belongs to the Social Sciences’. As such, my intention in this section is to defend the assertion that Industrial Relations is not only a subset but an active role-playing discipline under social sciences which no doubt is vast growing dramatically to attain its independence.
In justifying the above assertion therefore requires that we identify that the above argument comprises and compares two variables one of which is at a ‘macro’ level while the other is at micro level. These variables are social in nature which no doubt endeavours to study HUMAN INTERACTIONS as well as the consequences thereof. Social Sciences in this write-up thus refer to the macro variables while industrial relations refers to a micro one. However, to do justice to the assertion that Industrial Relations is a social science discipline requires that we give brief explanation of the two phrases.
SOCIAL SCIENCES: The word ‘Social’ simply can be seen as a purposeful relationship between or among persons in their social groups (Ogunbameru, 2006). Social Sciences thus refers to a discipline that tries to explain and predict the behaviour of individuals and groups. In those personal, intrapersonal and institutional level that are not biologically determined. Fagehinbo (2004) contends that social sciences is a branch of science and an organized integrated study of man and his environment both physical and social, emphasizing cognition functional skills, desirable attitudes and actions for the purpose of creating effective citizenry. ‘It is important to state that social sciences are science studies because of the systematic methodologies involved in making research, carrying out social investigation and making objective conclusion (Wale Atere, 1997).
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS: This on the other hand is a discipline which consciously studies the complex and seemingly unfathomable relationship among people in the world of work with a view to install peaceful co-existence in organization and also helps meet the NEEDS of the people as well as that of organization. Simply put, it is the study of the relationship among government and its agency, employers and their representative and employees and their spokespersons. It is also the study of employment relationship which involves formulation and implementation of rules and policies needed to integrate all differences that exist among the people in the organization for effectiveness.
It can be deduced from the foregoing that industrial relation is a discipline on its own though a subset of the social sciences. It is also a social science which studies social relationships among people (although in institutional and organizational level). It seeks to provide understandings of certain fundamental issues underpinning the state of employment relationship in the society such as social security, social functioning and dysfunctioning, conflict, human management, remuneration and its implications etc. All these are products of social relationships that industrial relations takes care of on behalf of the social sciences.
In addressing those facts that authenticates industrial relations as a social science discipline, it is important that we ask certain questions as (1) what the two discipline study? (2)What is their objective? (3)What is the relationship between the two? The answer to the first question is not far fetched as it is clear from the explanation in the above that the two discipline studies individual and group relationships though under different contexts. This is one basic ground why industrial relations is classified as a social science discipline.
Answering the second question above also, it is obvious from all angle that the two discipline endeavour to achieve ‘advancement of mankind’. It means that while social sciences seek to improve personal, interpersonal and institutional relationship and provide capable citizenry in the larger society, industrial relations also endeavour to improve the living standard of the people in the society though fostering of harmonious employment relations.
While providing answer to the third question above, it can be perceived that the relationship between the two is completely a ‘dependent’ relationship. Professor John T. Dunlop in his system theory of Industrial Relations (1958) contends that industrial relations is a system and a sub-system of the larger social system (society) which consist of several sub-systems within it. All sub-systems within the social system (including industrial relations system) functions interdependently to ascertain the wholistic and effective functioning of the social system. This means that an attempt for one sub-system to dysfunction will obstruct the function of the entire social system. To an extent that can be said that the relationship between the two variables is a symbiotic one.
Furthermore, it can be added to the above submission that IRS is a social science discipline because:
- Social science seeks to ensure social order by preventing social dysfunction’s, IRS also seeks to ensure for organizational peace or orderliness.
- Social sciences studies geography and environmental management in other to ensure a save and conducive living environment for all. Industrial Relation also studies ‘ergonomics’ in other to ensure a save and hygienic working environment for people.
- There is study of ‘power relations’ in both disciplines while one studies power relations between government and citizens, the other studies power relations between employers and employees.
- Those theoretical frameworks that are useful in the social sciences are also applicable in the discipline of Industrial Relations.
- The two disciplines make use of the same procedure and methodology in carrying out research and investigating issues of concern.
The list of these is inexhaustible.
The above justify the assertion that IRS belongs to the social sciences. However, it must be noted that IRS is fast growing to attain its independent as a discipline. This is because of the pervasiveness of ‘employment’ to all human being in the society. Everybody in the society must do one thing or the other to feed himself and survive in the society. IRS which takes care of save employment relations therefore becomes an important resort house from which society derive solutions to predicaments that may emanate from employment relationships. Moreover, IRS is a crossroad where all other discipline meets. Other discipline includes law, politics, economics, accounting, psychology, history etc. The notion that IRS is a discipline that is limited to organizations should therefore be considered as MYOPIC.


It is an incontrovertible statement of fact that the only place where conflict does not exist is in the graveyard. If conflict is therefore pervasive among all human groupings, then organizations are not left out. As such we intend to explain as brief as we can the source, causes and effects of conflict in organizations in this write-up.
Conflict can be seen as the clash of two opposing ideologies or beliefs, interest etc. which results into argument or disagreement. Organizations are compositions of people with different social, educational and religious background who come together to work in unity in other to achieve a common targeted goals that a single person among them cannot achieve single-handedly. There are also two major classes in industrial organization – the employers and the employed – whose goals and aspirations usually contradict and conflict. This no doubt keeps the two social group or industrial actors to often be at loggerhead.
From the above submission, industrial conflict can be defined as ‘all expressions of dissatisfaction within employment relationship especially those that pertain to terms and conditions of employment and the bargaining process involved. This means that for instance at the bargaining table an attempt by one party to cheat on the other party will induce conflict. This is why Ogunbameru (2000) defined conflict as ‘the processes that begin when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected or is about to negatively affect something that the first party cares about’. Industrial conflict is usually used synonymously with TRADE DISPUTE and is defined by the Trade Dispute Act, 1976 as ‘any disagreement or dispute between workers and workers or between workers and employers regarding the conditions of employment or unemployment of workers and the general conditions relating to employment’. Industrial conflict can be formal and informal. The formal conflict is usually carried out in an organized manner by organized group (either labour union or employers’ association) informal conflict is usually unorganized and it is manifested in such attitude as sabotage etc.
Here, it is important to differentiate from ‘sources’ and ‘causes’ of industrial conflict. While the former explains the place or nature with which or from which conflict emanates. It explains the reason why conflict is endemic and inevitable, the latter explains those conditions that may warrant conflict to germinate and become issues of concern. This is because conflict at its source may not necessarily become issues of controversy, confrontation and concerns of all but conflict which is caused (either intentionally or not) will no doubt bring about controversies and confrontations which may not necessarily surface in conflict at its source.
Fajana (2000) identified two sources of conflict which include the (1) internal and (2) external source of conflict
The Internal Sources: are so called because they refer to factors which hare inherent within the framework of an organization. Fajana stated that the major prime factor of internal source of conflict is the ‘opposing interests’ of industrial actors. These ‘divergent interests’ will bring about conflict in attempts by the two parties in organizations to tried to share what Ajibade (2004) called ‘industrial cake’.
Apart from the above, it is another statement of fact that there is usually ‘power relationship’ between the two actors in an industry which no doubt produce conflict and make such inevitable.
External Sources: These are so called because they are outside the four walls of an organization, it may occur when the third party intervention to industrial dispute becomes one sided or bias. A good example is where government as the third and regulatory party tries to formulate policy or enact laws that favour one party at the detriment of the other, such may generate conflict.
As it is, some causes of industrial conflict are numerous and few but those considered important among them will be highlighted
1. Anon-recognition of labour union by the employer
2. Competition over resources or industrial cake. This is exemplified in the Marxist explanation of ‘class conflict’.
3. Autocratic management style
4. Communication breakdown or error
5. Conflicting objectives of the two parties
6. Unfair labour practices
7. Breach of agreement by either of the actors
8. Ambiguous authority and responsibility
9. Arbitrary retrenchment of workers
10. Job insecurity or actualization (sweet shops)
The above are the major factors causing industrial conflicts.
It is pertinent to state here that conflict itself does not directly affect actors in industrial organization rather it usually forces the actors to impose ‘sanctions’ at their disposal on each other so as to inflict economic pain on each other to press home their demand. For workers there are several sanctions or instrument of economic coercion that may be imposed on the employers in other to drive home their demand. These include strike, picketing, wont-to-rule, overtime ban, rag wearing, blacklisting etc. but ‘strike’ remains the most visible weapon used by workers. The employers on the other hand may inflict economic pain on the workers during trade dispute by making use of ‘lack-out, dismissal, suspension, no work no pay etc. ‘lock out’ is the major weapon that employers resort to during industrial action.
It is after this imposition of sanction on each other that conflict becomes effective and inflicts pain on both organizations and the actors within it.
Furthermore, because industrial relation is tripartite in nature, it becomes imperative to identify the effects of imposition of sanction on each actor.

Monday, August 3, 2009


There are no great men without great stories. They tell stories but leave the odd parts (which are the greatest) untold. Greant men undergoes odd and tough times which are not easily disclosable when telling their stories.
The secret of great men lies withing the painful but greatest part of their stories.
I have got my GREAT stories and my GREATNES is on the way...

Friday, May 1, 2009


Oludeyi Olukunle Saheed.
Industrial and Labour Relations
Sociological Studies Department.

Ever since the adoption of interventionist policy in (1968) by the Nigeria government, its participation in all areas of Nigeria industrial and labour relations has been a significant one. Some of the ways through which the government has been participating or interviewing in labour an employment relationship includes, formulation of policies through ad-hoc committees, promulgation of laws, decrees etc. institutionalizing methods of conflict resolution, to mention a few. In terms of wages fixation, government had set up commissions-Public Service Review Commission of (1970-1972) which includes Adebo Commission of 1970 to 1971 and the Udoji Commission in 1972. These Commissions came up with recommendation that “a unit be established to conduct research on a continuous basis into factors influencing wages and salaries in Nigeria. The unit was to make recommendation of increases on the basis of the cost of living and productivity (Uvieghara 1986, cited in Kester 2006).
The above recommendation gave birth to the Productivity Price and Income Board (PPIB) in 1976. If PPIB thus, is seen as advisory body for government on wages fixation, it therefore becomes imperative to examine and discuss its (PPIB) role not in terms of fixation of wages but in terms of industrial harmony. In other words, it becomes important to examine the state of employment relations which possibly must have resulted from the role that PPIB played. While doing this, it is pertinent to get acquainted with PPIB itself and a brief explanation of industrial employment relations in its harmony.

Speaking on Industrial Harmony, it can be briefly stated that Industrial Harmony can only come out of what is known as “Industrial Democracy” a situation in organisation where to a larger extent, the participation of workers is adequately sought in the process of making decisions that will determine the conditions of their working lives. It involves joint participation in decision making process between the two major actors to labour relations. It encompasses such concepts as joint consultation, co-ownership or co-partnership, co-determination and whiltleyism (Check Otobo 2005).
It necessarily eradicates unilateral decision by management, it eliminates such terminologies as “managerial prerogatives and all forms of industrial capitalism”.
Suffix to say that it is only under the above condition that Harmony can be insulted in employment relations. Infact, the phrase “Industrial Harmony” can be used as tantamouse to industrial democracy described above.

The board was established in 1976 and was made legal by the promulgation of Productivity, Price and Income Board Act of 1977. According to ILO (1989) ‘PPIB’ establishment was in fact, a result of the adverse consequences arising from adjusting wages and salaries through addhoc Commission and of the need to relate changes in numeration to changes in productivity of labour so as to avert possible inflationary tendencies.
By the act that established PPIB, it is expected to carryout the below functions:
- Review the trend of development in the Nigeria economy.
- On the above review, the board is expected to advise Government of all levels on national income policy.
- To inform government of current and incipient trends in wages (and other forms of incomes).
- To determine the guidelines upon which wage adjustment should be confined.
- To encourage research on wage structures, income distribution and household consumption patterns.
- To educate Nigerians on prices, wages and productivity.
- To serve as an anti-inflationary mechanism.
All these are to promote schemes for raising productivity; proposes measures to ensure regulation of prices within the economy and provides continuous surveillance in the economy.
A critical evaluation of PPIB an its role in the making or marring Harmony in Industrial Organisation shows that, despite all the beautiful and well stated expectations from the board, the board has a greater extent been disadvantageous in the enthronement of industrial democracy which is necessary for industrial harmony.
The above submission is evident in Abudu’s comment (1998) that “the roles of government in wages fixation through commission and PPIB have completely eroded the principle of collective bargaining in labour relations”. This means that in cases where workers are deprived of the right to take part in the decision making process especially on matters that concerns them, peace may not reign in such employment relationship.
The ILO (1992) also pointed out that PPIB’s guidelines have been ineffective. ILO sated the conditions under which income policy will be effective (1) that income policy should be possible to apply to nation-wide scale if it is to be effective (2) that it should be supported by workers and employers’ organisation. The question thus is whether the Income Policy Guidelines provided by PPIB so far has in any way meet up with the two conditioned mentioned by ILO. PPIB from this fact, can be said to be ineffective… (reasons explainable with verifiable example in Nigeria).
Resulting from this, trade unions have been complaining bitterly to the PPIB’s wages restrained policy which has aggravated workers dissatisfaction and crippled the principle of collective bargaining. Workers have therefore continued to express bitter grievances which no doubt disfavour Harmony in employment relations.
Among other criticisms raised againt the role of PPIB in the employment relations includes:
- It lacks of mentioning of Rural-Urban wages differentials.
- Insufficient dissemination of useful information and the available ones are even monopolized by government.
- The indiscriminate increase in overtime rate and other fringe benefits.
- Collective bargaining being subjected to limitations and restrictions.
From the foregoing, it can be deduced that PPIB as a board has accumulated several shortcomings which cannot enable it to achieve the purpose for which it was established.

Permit me to say that if workers continue to experience severe conditions of service and restrictions in decision making process is made to sideline workers, wokers will continue to agitate for their right an constitute nothing but crises in industrial organisation. As such industrial harmony may not be easily achieved. It is therefore commended that for PPIB to function effectively, it should be made to meet up with the two conditions stated by the ILO above.
This can be done, if government should ensure that the people who constitute the board are combinations of both employers’ representative and employee’s representative (not in terms of stewardship) say 50% of peoples who will view issues from managerial point of view and 50% of people who will perceive the things from as working group. By doing this, such one sided policies or guidelines for income policies that comes from PPIB will be eradicated and new guidelines that will continue to favour the two parties will emanate from the PPIB.
Furthermore, Government should strive to reduce its intervention in wages fixation and subject such to voluntary negotiations between the two actors to contract of employments. By so doing, it is expected that Industrial Harmony will be established and installed in Nigeria Industrial Organisation.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Oludeyi Olukunle Saheed.
Industrial and Labour Relations
Sociological Studies Department.

Early in October 2008 which serves as the beginning of the 2008/2009 academic session in Ijagun, the topic of discussion among students, and both academic and non academic staff of TASUED was the issue of paradigm shift to Omu-Ijebu. Some reacted positively to this social phenomenon while others reacted negatively. But, as social scientist (in training) my, intension is to examine the socio-academic effect of this paradigm shift on NCE students of TASCE.
This paper therefore endeavours to spell out and give lucid definition to some concepts such as Paradigm Shift, Social Paradigm, Social Change and Social Balkanization. Following this is real exigency that necessitated paradigm shift to Omu-Ijebu under which we identify why the need for NCE students to move to Omu-Ijebu in the first place. It goes further to examine the problem encountered by students as a result of this paradigm shift. The paper also does not leave behind the theoretical extrapolation which underpines the above paradigm as postulated by Thomas Kuhn, a philosopher who theorized on “Paradigm Shift”. A good and reliable recommendation was trade towards the end of this write up.
The shortcoming of this paper however is that it lacks enough references, this is as a result of the fact that all claims made in this paper are personal findings.
The Classical Scholars in the field of sociology and the emerging social scientist have objectively observed and theorerised that what they referred to as “Social Change” is a paramount phenomenon that is inevitable in human social life and social relationships. Social change therefore becomes such a prevalent and often disturbing feature of contemporary life that the extent at which the rate of changes in modern world are greater than in the past. Certainly, all societies, institutions, individuals and groups experience a certain amount of change in their social structure and culture overtime.
Adegbola A. A. in Fagehinbo A. O. (2004) contends that “societies cannot remain stable because they are in contact with other societies which do things somewhat differently” and even better than another. In the same vain, social relationship, pattern, structure or what we may term “social paradigm” be it in school, in polity, economy, religion and all facet of life is expected to experience some “changes” at some point in time. This is why it is not a surprise that the paradigm shift in TASUED educational programme emerged. The intension of this paper therefore is to rigorously examine the social and educational effect of this shift on students of TASUED especially the recent Ijagun-Omu-Ijebu shift.
1. PARADIGM: This is a typical example of the ways and manner in which things are done or conceptualized. The patterns, in which a particular phenomenon is done, perceived and structured.
2. PARADIGM SHIFT: Any significant change in the way or in the manner, in which things are done, perceived or structured. Paradigm shift explains a great and important change or alteration in the pattern of things, events, phenomena etc. are done or thought about. Such change therefore necessarily brings a remarkable effect. In the context of this write up, paradigm shift is the transformation that took place in TASUED program which necessitated the need for NCE student to relocate in Omu-Ijebu.
3. SOCIAL PARADIGM: A typical example of the kind of social relationship that exists among individuals and groups in a society or an institution. It is the ways and manner in which individuals and group perceived themselves the pattern with which they relate with each other and the consequence of such pattern of relationship in any social setting. Social paradigm in this paper therefore connotes the traditional inter-personal relationship that has ever existed in TASUED before the advent of Degree program.
4. SOCIAL CHANGE: Rogers (1969) defined social change as the process by which alterations occur in the structure and function of a social system. Social system in this definition may be social group, a community, a city, a region or nation. Any change that occur in the patterns of social action and interaction, including consequence and manifestation of such change to social actors. In the context of this paper, “social-academic” change refers to alteration in social conditions of students in their academic endeavour which occur as a result of changes or modification in the policies and program of an educational institution. Example is the advancement in TASUED academic program from NCE to Degree program.
5. BALKANIZATION OF SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS: This refers to a situation in which a division is created in any social group into two different social groups in such a way that there are unfriendly and aggressive relationships among these two groups. Any sort of division among students which is characterized by a continuous antagonistic or rivalry relationship among students. Such balkanized relationship is what existed among NCE and Degree students in Ijagun, the rivalry of superiority became the other of the day.
Unfortunately, Kuhn is vague on what he meant by a “Paradigm”. According to Magnet Master man (1970), Kuhn used the term in at least twenty-one different ways “I will employ a definition of paradigm that I feel is true to the sense and spirit of Kuhn’s early work” (Ritzer, 2008) a paradigm serve to differentiate one scientific (or educational) community from another. It can be used to differentiate Physics from Chemistry or Sociology from Psychology. These fields have different paradigms. It also can be used to differentiate between different historical stages in the development of science (and improvement in educational standards such as that TASUED). The paradigm that dominated in the early twentieth century. There is a third stage of the paradigm concept and it is the one that is most useful here in this paper. Paradigm, in this paper, differentiates educational institution. In the same vain, it is expedient to state or prognosticate here that there can occur in TASUED what is called “Multiple Paradigm” in the future. This is because contemporary psychoanalysis, for example, is differentiated into Freudian, Jungian and Horneyian paradigms to mention a few (Ritzer, 2008). This means that there will be multiple paradigms in TASUED in the nearest future when post-graduate and doctorate degree programmes will be introduced.
Suffix to say that, it will be inadequate if we fail to analyze, identify and spell out some of the factors that necessitated the need for NCE students to shift from Ijagun to Omu-Ijebu for academic continuity. It is worthy of note at this juncture that the dominant factor that engineered all other change and alterations in the then TASCE is the “establishment of FASUED in January 2005”. From the inception, what is known as TASUED today was Ogun State College of Education (OSCE) which later became Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE). The real need for these changes in nomenclature resulted from the need to advance the school academic program and establish a specialized university of education that in autonomously can award Degree certificate to students.
However, it is not the intension of the school management to put the traditional NCE program into extinction. Rather, the intension is for the same school to run the two programs (i.e. NCE and Degree) simultaneously. The management therefore resorted at relocating the NCE program under the name “TASCE” to Omu-Ijebu campus and keep Degree program under the name “TASUED” in Ijagun campus. The rationale behind this is that when this transformation took place, it attracted a larger population of students from all parts of the country who developed interest in studying in the first university that specializes on Education and Pedagogical training in Nigeria.
Resulting from this large pull of students are some of the problems listed below:
- Over population and congestion
- Inadequate classrooms and educational materials
- Increased number of accommodation seeker resulting in high cost of living/accommodation for students
- Inappropriate combination of curriculum for the two programs (NCE and Degree)
- Rivalry of superiority among Degree and NCE students
- Balkanization of social relationship among TASUED students
- Among others
As a result of the above problems, it became necessary for the school management to separate “Paul from Banabas”. This is the reason why the NCE students who hitherto resided in Ijagun had to relocate in Omu-Ijebu for academic continuity so that they can be exposed to those newly established facilities and newly designed curriculum that goes in congruence with NCE program in Omu. This change is what we refer to as PARADIGM SHIFT in this write up which has enormous effect on NCE students.
It should be pointed out here that the paradigm shift to Omu-Ijebu by NCE students has enormous effects on both the social and financial status of the students which in turn pose serious academic challenges to students. Some student found this shift very difficult to cope with while others view it as an academic activity that is inevitable. Nevertheless, the change in environment has effect on those students. Some of these problems posed by this shift are explained below.
(1.) FINANCIAL PROBLEM: A change in environment by student is a big task which cost so much. This is because of there had not been any cause for students to change environment, there wouldn’t have been any cause for them to pay a rent in advance, with what the presently reigning landlords/ladies called “agreement fee”. Apart from paying in advance, students who hired new rooms will no doubt need to recognize such room, furnish it, paint it, run some electrical appliances and even spend money to do some little renovations in the room. All these are money consuming and as such it becomes a problem to students who only get meager from parents and family friends to survive. The effect of this problem is that students will have no sufficient fund to enhance their academic pursuit, there will be no money to buy text book, browse on internet, not even enough money to buy foodstuff. All these no doubt will affect their academic program and performance in school.
(2.) INADEQUATE CLASSROOM AND EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS: This is another problem that the NCE students are presently facing. This problem which emanated from the paradigm shift is a type that the school management only makes a small arrangement to create lacuna between the Degree students and NCE students. As such, an NCE student complained bitterly that they suffer a lot when receiving or about to receive lecture. This is because they usually often time move on a far distance to receive lecture. A student who learns under so much stress may not achieve anything in any class he/she attend.
(3.) TRANSPORTATION: Another area of note is the menace of transportation. Before this shift occur, the total amount of money a single students who, reside in Ijebu-Ode would spend would be sixty naira (N60) only tow and fro. But with this paradigm shift, students have to spend a total amount of hundred naira (N100). Although this is also akin to financial constraint but the point here is that adequate transportatonal facilities has not been put in place by the school management to rescue students from this problem. This may affect a students performance in such a cases where he could not afford such money at a fingertip, such student may even get to an examination center late all in the name of transportation.
(4.) NONE AVAILABILITY OF LABORATORY AND SCIENCE EQUIPMENTS: Students from Omu are still saddled with this problem. Many a time, they had to move down from Omu campus to Ijagun campus to make use of science complex and laboratory to facilitate their studies. For students who don’t have the charisma to go through these hectic end, problem of studying may set in. the effect is that students who face this kind of problem tend to loose their interest in studying.
(5.) INADEQUATE SPACE FOR EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES: In the discipline of pedagogy, learning objectives is divided into three main taxonomy among which “Psychomotor” domain is an important domain. It is found in Omu-Ijebu campus that there has not been enough space and facilities to foster physical activities such as soccer, athletics, etc. and all the sport activities, these are also important in students learning environment because they prevent “fatigue” and keep the student to grow both physically and mentally.
(6.) FAR-REMOVED RELATIONSHIP: Of note among the effect of paradigm shift on NCE students is of the fact that some of these students who from inception have formed groups who read together, study together, solve problems such as assignment together and ultimately, unite together to heal themselves of examination fever. Sometimes these groups of students have fallen in love with each other to provide such things as food, money and all other necessary things that members of the group may be lacking. The most painful aspect of it is that these students may form a group that will include both NCE and Degree students, with the shift to Omu-Ijebu, this kind of groups are bound to break and such relationship that existed among this students which is characterized with “we-feeling” will be adversely affected and such relationship then turn to be a “far-removed” relationship. Some of these NCE students reported that to cope with these break in friendship and mingle with another set of students pose serious challenge to them and such has profound effect on students’ social interaction and academic endeavours.

The scenario of paradigm shift that occur in Ijagun-Omu campus can be analyzed and explained extrapolating from the metatheorectical scheme for analyzing sociological phenomena or theory as put forward by George Ritzer in 2008. Ritzer analyses the idea of an important philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn whose work was basically to examine and explain “the structure of Scientific Revolution”. Inherent in his writing (i.e. Thomas Kuhn) is also to use scientific innovations and advancement as a dependent variable or yardstick that engineered all major “paradigm shift” in the society i.e. science played a pivotal role in the creation of several paradigm shift in the society just the same way curricular change and the shift in programme (from NCE to Degree) played an important role in the emergence of “Ijagun-Omu paradigm shift”.
First, science occurred to advance human kind in the society, Degree program also came in Ijagun in order to expand and advance the school programme and students academy. Second. Scientific innovations attracts people of the world to become rational (Rationality from Weber’s perspective) and endeavour to explore all opportunities in order to attain high class in the society, this is the same way the emergence of Degree program in Ijagun attracted a large pull of candidates seeking admission into the University (TASUED). Third, the level of rationality by people make them to create another paradigm in the society just in the same way the large population of students in TASUED tempted the school management to create the necessary dichotomy between NCE and Degree students which we refer to as the paradigm shift in this paper.
In a nutshell, science brought some anomalies that paved way for a shift in paradigm in society just the same way the emergence of Degree program in Ijagun campus brought about balkanized relationships among students which necessitated the shift in paradigm (i.e. the necessary drift from Ijagun to Omu-Ijebu campus by NCE students).
In a nutshell, it could be argued that there is a cause-effect relationship in the emergence of Degree programme in Ijagun. In other words, the cause for the school management to advance school programe and academic curriculum necessitated certain educational policies formulated by the school authority which no doubt, inevitably has enormouse effect on students of the citadel of learning. The effects of this policies (paradigm shift) to a larger extent are problematic and challenging to students socio-academic status. Some of the problems encountered by students are financial problem, lack of infrastructural facilities, lack of space for extracurricular activities and the widening of far-remove relationship among students.
Towards the concluding part of this write-up, are the recommendations to the school management to strive and make available all the mentioned problem posed by the effect of paradigm shift to NCE students. It is expedient to state here that though there are highlighted effects of this shift on students, yet the shift is targeted towards advancing students academic programme which to a larger extent and in the long run (i.e. their life after school) will benefit the student and the society at large.

Fagehinbo M. O. (2004) “Topics in Tertiary Social Studies” Lucky Odoni (Nig) Enterprises, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.
George Ritzer (2008) “Sociological Theories” McGraw Hill Higher Education, 1221 Avenue of the Americans, New York, NY10020.
Kunle Ogunbameru (2006) “Men and His Social Environment a Test of Sociology” Spectrum Books Limited, Ibadan.
Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary (2006) “Seventh Edition” Oxford University Press, UK

Thursday, January 29, 2009


It was Xmas eve, the 24th of December 2008. I had just returned home from school for the yuletide celebration and my uncle was set to live for work. “Time is running out, I think I have to be on my way to work” he said. Then I asked him why he needed to go to work when 25th was public holiday. He said production in their factory ends by 6am on Xmas day.
Uncle is an industrial worker who after our conversation walked up to my younger brother and said to him “oh! That reminds me, if I had known I would have stopped KLATZ (referring to me) from resigning his appointment with the company” he said “because the workers salary has been increased and I feel sorry for Kunle for leaving that work and proceed to Tai Solarin University Of Education” I asked him how much is the total remuneration package for a fresh permanent staff. He said it’s a minimum of #18000 including all other fringe benefits. Again I asked him what his portfolio in the company was. He said he was still a temporary member of staff who is still hoping to be confirmed as permanent staff in the year 2009. He has remained a casual worker since I left the company as a permanent staff in June 2006. I understand that the Indian men have continued to perpetuate his poverty by retaining him as a casual worker in the slavery work. He is living extremely below the bearable line of poverty and as such, he cannot think accurately to understand that the decision I made in June 2006 (having served the company as a permanent staff for 5 years and above) was the right decision. The question now is if a permanent staff member earns minimum of #18000 monthly, I wonder what meager does my uncle earn as a casual worker or temporary staff.
Let me quickly ship in here what Comrade Solomon Onaghion said regarding workers salary in Nigeria. Comrade Onaghion is the Secretary General of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) and at the same time the Treasurer, Trade Union Congress (TUC) who calculated workers salary in Nigeria from the point of view of the prisoners. He said and I quote “a prisoner enjoys free accommodation, free medical services, free clothing and free food. Free everything. When you add that you are going to come out to the range of #34,000…” (Nigerian Tribune, Wednesday, 22 October, 2008. p.20) if government therefore can spend such amount on prisoners and law abiding citizens and workers earn #18,000 monthly and remain contented with it, I then wonder who is to be pitied between my uncle and me.
I became worried also because I could feel what the Webs described as “PARASITIC TRADES” in my uncle’s pseudo-employment. Parasitic Trades are trades which substantially underpay workers who worked practically for pocket money because of the employee’s desperate need for survival which forced them to agree to substandard working conditions with limited regard to job security and worthy standard of living. (Akinsanya, 2008) I could feel the reason why some workers would be suffering and still keep smiling under such degradation.
From the foregoing, it therefore becomes interesting for radical students of Industrial Relations like me to consider the following points for intellectual argument:
- That my uncle was set for work by 9pm on the 24th of December when the federal government had declared 25th as public Holiday.
- That he has remained a casual worker for close to three years.
- That a worker in a factory, who has a family to cater for, can earn such amount of money monthly compare to “jumbo salary” that political officers earn in Nigeria.
- We should also take time to analyze from Industrial Psychology, workers’ complacency under such inhuman condition of work and in such an abject poverty.
Without doubt, it is obvious that we need to start educating ourselves on how not to commit such fallacy as “better a poor work than nothing” among industrial workers in Nigeria. People like my uncle who have refused to transform their “false consciousness” to “class consciousness” in Marxian perspective abound in Nigerian Industrial Organisations. I therefore urge students of Industrial Relations to help teach any industrial workers that we may find within our environment the basic things they should know as an industrial worker. I mean those workers who may fall victim of “Industrial Work Alienation” that Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim talked about. I do not however mean that we should instigate them to turn against their employers’ authority but at least we should endeavor to enlighten them a bit. I also plead to the relevant authorities such as the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ministry of Employment Labour and Productivities (MELP) and others who are responsible for seeing to matters related to this, to help find a solution to this inhuman social phenomenon. This is because this menace is fast getting out of control. Some employers need to be informed that the vestige of era of “industrialization” should be jettisoned and embrace a humanly method of treating the nation’s wealth builders. There is need for a complete overhaul in our industrial work relationships. Workers too need to be fully informed, educated and enlightened on the way the contemporary work arrangement should be so that they can rise and join forces in tackling this social menace that Anthony Giddens referred to as “juggernaut”. Government also has crucial roles to play in this motion for emancipation of those who build the wealth for the nation that they govern. They may even go as far as setting up a commission that will checkmate and sanction any employer who in anyway unfairly treats his workers just the same way the EFCC is to curb corruption. This is because our lack of respect to human dignity and empowerment is one of the fundamental factors that eat up the chances for Nigeria to develop just like corruption does. It is therefore until we make effort to remove this unreasonable complacency that we have by way of public or private policies as well as bureaucracy created in those workers who are degraded in the real sense that Nigerian can begin to take a step towards her sustainable development.

Oludeyi Olukunle Saheed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holla at NAOSWS members of TASUED

National Association Of Social Works Students, TASUED chapter

I want to give you guyz a big kudos for the great developmental activities that you embarked on especially the last ORIETATION PROGRAM you organise for the freshers.

I will want to include that i apreciate the recognition you guyz gave me during the program and i hope i can pay back in the same coin under the powerful administration of Mujaeed a.k.a solution,. i acknowledge the likes of Beef, Aderinsola, Collins and others. you guyz are grait especially the HOU Mr O. O. Balogun and Mr Omotayo.

The sky remains the limit for you guys.
Oludeyi Kunle Saheed.

Friday, December 12, 2008


When issues of labour legislations arise especially among students of Industrial Relations in Nigeria, our discussions are usually revolved around the seven principal laws. We have always pointed out some of the loopholes of these laws and agitate for a complete “Overhaul”. Again, we often discuss the absentionist policy of government that became interventionist policy with the outbreak of the civil war in 1968. Surely, these are important topics of discussions on Nigeria labour laws but we have failed to at some points look into the history of these seven principal laws. Few of us who take our time to discuss the history even do so by summing it up that because Nigeria was a colony of Britain, she had inherited some of these laws from the great Britain. This is actually true but let me say here that there is need for a rigorous examination of evolution of Nigeria labour laws as it might be useful in providing solutions to some of the inherent problems of Nigeria Industrial Relations especially in this dispensation of postindustrialisation where globalization threatens to fall things apart. An appraisal of the past compared with the present, no doubt will provide an insight into what the future can bring. This is why I have made effort to examine the Evolution of labour legislations in Nigeria so that possible and useful lessons can be learnt from some of the changes that have taken place so far.
If you like you may call it Historical Development of Nigerian Labour Laws, History of Labour Laws In Nigeria, or Growth of Labour laws in Nigeria. What ever it is, we will see some useful Hints here.
The word “Labour” is etymologically a derivative from Latin word “Laborren” which means “toil, pain, strength, exertion of the body”. Law on the other hand was coined out from a German word “Lagu” meaning “to put, lay”. It also related to a Latin word for statute which is “Statuere” meaning something lay down and forced.
From the foregoing, labour laws have been viewed as “the rules of human effort” it is a legal framework that guide the activities of human beings in their daily attempt at making ends meet. S. C Srivastava (2007) opined that labour laws seek to regulate the relations between an employer or a class of employers and their workmen. Labour laws are again used as an instrument by government to regulate and guide employment relations.
Although the 1938 trade union ordinance gained much recognition and thus, regarded as the landmark of labour laws in Nigeria, the antecedent to the advent of labour laws can be traced to 1880s. E. E Uvieghana (2001) pointed out that the legislation then was called “workers chapter” extracted from the “master and servant ordinance for the gold coast”. It has its long little as “an ordinance for the regulation of the relations between employers and employees”. This master and servant ordinance was amended in 1885 and in 1900 after the creation of the Southern and Northern protectorates. Similar ordinance was made for each of the protectorate. After the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates in 1914, the ordinance was made for the whole country in 1917. The master and servant ordinance of 1917 was re-amended in 1929 and were called “Labour Code Ordinance of 1929” (E. E. Uvieghana, 2001).
Although this ordinance (1929) has been argued against by several scholars as not indigenous because it was the colonial master who promulgated it for their selfish interest of exploitation.
Prior to 1938 there were few workers in wages employment in Nigeria because the natives then preferred agricultural work as it offered more incentives and ensure for freedom unlike factory works. Consequently there were few workers associations who also were not militant but formed for the professional and social well being of workers alone. Some of these unions then were NCSU formed in 1912 and NUT as well as RWU both formed in 1931. Government on the other hand was not contributing directly to the affairs of industrial relations. After the world war ended in 1914 and the cost of living arose dramatically. The workers could not bear the burden of inflation caused by the war. They started agitating against poor condition of work, example of such agitation was that which was led be veteran leader, Pa Michael Imodu who led 300 workers to government house in a protest against poor condition of work and came out successively. These agitations constituted much embarrassment to the employers and the then colonialist and thus, they promulgated the 1938 trade Union Ordinance which is now widely accepted as the landmark of labour laws in Nigeria. Their intension was to use this law as a way of regulating the affairs of these hitherto illegal unions. The law legalized trade unionism and provided that 5 members can form unions. It also provided that government could regulate the internal and external administration and affairs of these unions. This was the noted beginning of labour laws in Nigeria.
The role of government in the development of Nigerian labour laws is very significant as they have made several changes in these laws before and after Nigerian independence. After the 1938 ordinance, two ordinances were promulgated in 1941; the workmen compensation ordinance of 1941 was meant to make it imperative for employers to compensate any of his employees who sustain injuries in the course of his work. The law also stated the categories of those injured workers which may or may not be catered for. The second law in 1941 was the trade dispute ordinance of 1941 enacted for conflict resolution when the joint machinery for conflict resolution failed.
In 1945, labour code ordinance of 1929 was amended and was referred to as 1945 Labour Code Ordinance. In 1958 another two laws were introduced by government. One is the Factory ordinance chapter 66 enacted to ensure register his factory and provide security, safety and welfare for occupants (workers) in his factory premises. The second law in 1958 is Wages Board Ordinance of 1958 through which government intervene in the review of workers’ wages structure.
In July 29th 1966, General Yakubu Gowon (a military leader) through military coup took over the government of Aguiyi Ironsi (Sunday Olagunju, 2007). This military government promulgated several decrees. The first one is Trade disputes (emergency provision) decree, 1968 enacted for settlement of disputes in industrial set up. This decree was ineffective as there were still several industrial crises in Nigeria. Thus, the federal military government in the following year introduced another Trade dispute (emergence provision, amendment) decree, 1969. This was the decree that banned strike and look out, it provided that no employer should increase the salary of any worker without the approval of the military government.
Between 1970 and 1975, two great events took place in Nigeria, first was the civil war that ended in 1970 and the overthrow of Gowon’s administration in 1975.
The aftermath of the civil war had effect on workers salaries and affected their standard of living. The government then introduces Wages Board and Industrial council decree in 1973 to review the salary structure of workers. It was this decree that established the Wages Advisory Council. In the same 1973 another crucial law was promulgated called Trade Union Act 1973 which increased the number of members to form union from 5 to 50. It repeals the 1938 ordinance. It also banned workers under essential services from unionizing.
In 1974 the Labour Act no 21 was enacted to repeal and fill the loopholes of the 1929 Labour code ordinance. It serves to protect workers against employment exploitation by introducing such provision as terms and condition of work, contract of employment, holiday pay and leave allowances, medical facilities etc.
In 1976, Trade dispute (enquiry and arbitration) decree was promulgated which brought about the formal statutory procedure for conflict resolution by establishing Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) and National Industrial Court (NIC). In 1978, Trade union (amendment) decree, 1978 was introduced to enrich the pocket of trade union as it introduces check-off due system and also granted workers in essential services to unionize.
In 1981, Wages Board Act was promulgated.
In 1986, Trade Union (miscellaneous provision) was introduced and amended in 1989.
In 1987, both the Factory Act and the Workmen’s Compensation Act were also amended.
In 1991, the National Minimum Wage Act was introduced. It prescribed a statutory minimum rate of pay to workers.
In 1996, the military government introduced four decrees which are decree no. 4, 24, 26, and 29.
Finally in 2005, the National Assembly under the leadership of Adolphus Wabara and assented to by the President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 30th march 2005 introduced another law; the Trade union (amendment) Act cap 437 Law of Federation of Nigeria 2005. This act has several shortcomings inimical to the welfare of workers in the federation. This is why scholars have regarded the law as a “controversial law” of labour relations.
The reach of these laws are so wide that they touch the lives of millions of men and women who constitute the labour force. A critical observation of the changes in the development of these laws shows that labour laws in Nigeria are outdated and fast becoming irrelevant. They have created obstacles in achieving fair labour practices which is important to ensure “Decent work” that ILO preaches. Some of these laws cannot provide the targeted solution to achieving harmonious employment relations as one of the prerequisites for national development especially with the new challenges posted by the emergence of globalization, liberalization and privatization as well as this present era where industrialization is gradually transforming to postindustrialisation with the pervasiveness of computer application in industrial activities. There is therefore the urgent need for the Nigerian government to set up a commission that will reform labour laws to a complete overhaul. This is necessary and one of the strategic procedure that government should embark upon if truly the vision 20-20 of President Sheu Musa Yar’Adua will be achieved.

Oludeyi Olukunle Saheed