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

Monday, December 1, 2008


Nigerian today, Optimism has been a defining trait of culture; we tend to think life gets better or will soon get better because of the current trend of improvement and technological advancement. Surely, there are some good reasons to think this way. But we need to stop and rethink; we should endeavor to differentiate between Optimism, Pessimism and Reality. This is because in recent years our historic optimism may decline if prompt action is not made to maintain it.
One recent national survey found 67 percent of U.S adults agreeing that, for the average person, life is getting worse not better (30% disagree and 3% offered no opinion, NORC, 2003) I am positive and pretty sure that 90% of Nigerians will agree that life is getting worse too. Surely the rough economic times have played a major part in this rising pessimism. The news has been full stories of Corporate CEOs booting companies and forcing them into bankruptcy, throwing people out of work and often dissolving their pensions as well. The aim of this article is to appraise industrialization as it is on its way to postindustrialisation and claim the need for REFORMS towards a complete overhaul.

Postindustrialisation Age is a period of time beyond industrial revolution era. It is a period of time where productive technology is supported with the use of Computers on information-based economy. High increase in the rate of specialization which is common with industrialization will decline in postindustrial era and persistence of social inequality with information processes and other work will gradually replace industrial production. (J. J. Maccons, 2006)

This new industrial paradigm, the 'post-industrial' society, was originally an original work of Daniel Bell, in the 1950s (Webster, 1995). The construction is characterized by a move away form the industrial, manufacturing markets of old, and instead a reliance on service driven, information-based industries. A post-industrial society is "based on services... what counts is not raw muscle power or energy, but information" (Bell, 1973). This means that human phisical effort will decline and as the focus of transactions and commerce transitioned from manufactured goods to informational flow, so too did the accompanying power structures change. No longer was power simply in the control or ownership of the means of production, but rather in the control of systemic knowledge and information (Barney, 2004, p.6). Labor therefore is divided into physical labour(use of muscle power) and informational labour (use of intellectual power). A new economic sector is thereby identified, the Information Sector, which amalgamates information-related labour activities.
In 1976, Bell declared that "the post-industrial society is an Information Society"He further stated that a post-industrial society is not just the shift from tangible property and goods to knowledge as a commodity, but "the character of knowledge itself". Indeed in his later works, Bell used the words 'post-industrial society' and 'information society' interchangeably. Let me quickly say that what is interesting about this postindustrialism is that early post-industrialist theories were infused with optimism (barney, 2004). Academics, including Bell, saw the new social structure as having the potential to overcome the unjust, unbalanced and degrading aspects of industrialism (Bell, 1973, p.168).
The advent of post-industrialism was envisaged as establishing "a more educated, leisured and engaged citizenry, a levelling of economic inequality, a thriving global economy, scientific advance immune to ideology, and rational management of public affairs" (Barney, 2004,). This however will only be ascertained if all stakeholders could endeavior to change our orientations towards achieving all the benefits promised by postindustrialism. This means that for an economy to sustain or survive in this present modern world, immediate effort should be made to avert a severe social crisis that may arise as a result of modernity. It should therefore make sense for governments of African Countries to strategies ways through which industrial reforms can be ascertained and maintain in industries.
Although, modern society may give us more things but people are now working harder than ever to hold onto them and are less sure that the hard work they do is even a ticket to happiness. This is because as the economic scandal of the last few years suggest, our cultural individualism seems to have dissolved into pure selfishness in industrial organization. This is why it is not surprising that pessimism is on the high rate. The evidence is mixed; life is getting better in some ways and in other ways life is getting worse. Lenski (2007) explains that it is easy to equate “high tech” with “progress” and to expect technological discoveries to keep making life better but history shows us that advancing technology may offer real advantage but it is no guarantee of a better life. This is neither an optimism nor it is a pessimism but a reality.

Great thinkers among the social scientists have provided a lucid explanation of the modern world today. Extrapolating from their thoughts and theories on what they call modernity to industrial relations create a new way of thinking and a more radical ideologies as well as enlightenment. Resulting from such enlightenment is the exigency of reformation in industrial relations where radical change and improvement will be made regarding the working lives of social partners in industrial organizations.
Cited in J. Ritzer (2008), Mestrovic (1998:2) has labeled Anthony Giddens “the high priest of modernity”. This is because of the dexterities with which Giddens theories about modernity. He used such terms as “radical”, “high” or “late” modernity to describe society today and to indicate that the society of those days continues in its modernity till the emergence of another more radical or high modernity. Giddens sees modernity today as a “juggernaut” which to some extent is out of control (J. Ritzer 2008). His intenssion is to note that traditionally, society to some extents was under the control of man but the more radical modern society of today is out of man's control. This is envident in the current trend of globalization today where activities in industrial organization that was managed among people in organizations now tend to loom larger and attain some level of independence of its own and thus dictate the pace for the industrial actors. Managers in industrial organization for example now depend on global financial and market forces before embarking on any activity.
Ulrich Beck (1992, 2005) also contends that whereas, the classical stage of modernity was associated with industrial society, the emerging new modernity is best described as a
“risk society”
Thus a new way of thinking among industrial actors and the entire society should be fostered and such thinking should become the creation of dichotomy between the classical modernity and the emerging modern or radical mordenity(postindustrialism). While the central dilemma during industrialization was the creation of wealth and how it ought to be distributed, the central problem in modern industrialism should now be the prevention, minimization and channeling of “Risks” in industrial organizations.
A good example of such risk is the risk of increase in the number of men and women becoming unemployed estimated to be 2 million (rising unemployment from 190 million in 2007 to 210 million in late 2009) as a result of the current “Global financial crisis It is pertinent to mention here that Globalization is a manifestation of high modernity. The director General of the International Labour Organization [ILO] Juan somavia in October,2008, made this prediction that the Global financial crisis could increase world unemployment by an estimated 20million women and men [Nigeria Tribune, Wednesday 22, October, 2008). The ILO estimate is based on the revised global growth estimate by the IMF, the UN and early reports suggesting rising job losses from most countries where data was available. This is a global phenomenon that depicts the reflexions of what Giddens and Ulrich termed juggernaut” and “risk society” respectively.
Reacting to the above submission it is expedient to follow Jurgen Harbamas’(1981,1987) perception of modernity as a “unfinished project” i.e. the central issue in modern world continues as it was in Weber’s days of rationalism. The Utopia goal is the maximization of the rationality of both the “Industrial System” and the “life world” (Ritzer, 2008).
Talking on rationality from Weber’s perspective, we may say that as modernity of the days of rationality is increasing to hyper-modernity, people around the world should strive to improve their rationality to hyper-rationality in other to on one hand explore, achieve and enjoy all the goodies that the modern industrialization brings and on the other hand, avert all the possible menace associated with the modern industrialism. I think our hyper-rationality in African Countries therefore is to recognize the fact that the state of industrial relations especially in developing countries like Nigeria may not meet up with the challenges posted by modern industrialism. Having recognized these facts, then necessary reforms in all aspect of industrial relations should be the nest task ahead for government.
Among the numerous aspects which call for immediate reforms are viz;
- The state control of industrial relations
- Wages system reforms
- Redefinition of redundancy
- Reinstallation of industrial democracy
- Reformation in the aspect of collective bargaining
- Trade union reorientation
- Employment contract modification (legal & psychological)
- Restandardization of dispute resolution
- Restandardization of ergonomics
- Readjustment of compensation system
- Reenactment of employment laws and enforcement
- Pension and pension scheme reforms.
The list of these areas where reformation and restructuring is needed is however inexhaustible.

The point here conclusively is that technological advancement certainly changed society but innovation of this kind is no solution to many problems associated with it. Evidence suggests that new technology makes some problems worse, forcing us to work even harder than normal. Yet the technological advancement is transforming to a higher or radical advancement. This transformation then post many advance treats to the social partners in industrial organization as well as the larger society. It therefore becomes imperative for people of the world to change our orientations and our ideologies in a more radical way and create a platform for reformation of all kinds in the world of work and the larger society. It is only by so doing that the task of building a satisfying and just industrial organization can be achieved as one of the prerequisites for meeting up with the post industrialism and its consequents.
Oludeyi Olukunle Saheed.