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.