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One of the major impediments to development in Nigeria is
labour unrest. This is given the fact that no Nation can
develop without human resource because they constitute and
play very significant role in Nation building and development.
The Nigerian case has been so pervasive that labour unrest
extends to every situation when the Government takes major
public policy decision that seems to affect the labour union
and generally the masses without due consultation of labour
statement; especially that which affects the social life of their
member and welfare packages of the entire masses,
specifically that which affect the socio-economic and political
aspects, hence Nigerian development remain dependent.
Thus in our attempt to analyze and investigate this problem,
we use the relative deprivation theory for theoretical
framework while documentary research method was also used
for gathering and analyzing data.
This research work, labour unrest and underdevelopment in
Nigeria: An appraisal from 2000 – 2013 is being carried out
for the purpose of assessing various means of curbing labour
unrest. This study is however divided into five chapters,
chapter one deals with the background of study, statement of
the problem, objective of the study, significance of the study,
hypotheses, method of data collection and analysis, scope and
limitation of the study and definition of terms. Chapter two
contains the public policies and labour unrest in Nigeria. In
chapter three, we looked at labour unrest and
underdevelopment. Chapter four of this work dealt with the
strategies for curbing labour unrest in Nigeria.
Finally, chapter five which is the last chapter efforts shifted
to the summary, conclusion, recommendation and
bibliography. However this work is very incisive, interesting
and educating.
Table of Contents
Title Page ————————————————-i
Approval Page ——————————————ii
Dedication ——————————————iii
Acknowledgment ————————————-iv-vi
Abstract ———————————————–vii-ix
Table of Contents————————————-x-xi
Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Background of the Study———————-1-5
1.2 Statement of the Problem———————-5-7
1.3 Objectives of the Study —————————7
1.4 Literature Review——————————-8-15
1.5 Significance of the Study———————15-16
1.6 Theoretical Framework ———————–16-20
1.7 Hypotheses —————————————–21
1.8 Methods of Data Collection——————-21-22
1.9 Scope and Limitation of the Study ———-22-23
1.10 Operationalization of Concept—————23-26
Chapter Two: Public Policy and Labour Unrest in Nigeria
2.1 Economic Reforms and Retrenchment
of Workers ————————————–27-38
2.2 Non-Sustainable Minimum Wage and Welfare
2.3 Arbitrary Reduction of Fuel Subsidy and Increase in
Fuel Prices—————————————–57-68
Chapter Three: Labour Unrest and Underdevelopment in
3.1 Labour Unrest and Loss of Revenue ————69-79
3.2 Labour Unrest and Loss of Investment ———79-88
3.3 The Disruption of Socio-Political
Development —————————————-88-93
Chapter Four: Strategy for Curbing Labour Unrest in
4.1 The Decentralization of Labour Unions ——–94-97
4.2 The Coercive Strategy —————————98-100
4.3 The Dialogue Option—————————-100-107
Chapter Five: Summary, Conclusion and
5.1 Summary —————————————108-110
5.2 Conclusion ————————————-111-113
5.3 Recommendation——————————113-115
Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Background of the Study
The organized labour union movements in Nigeria dates
back to 1912, Nigeria workers like their counterparts in
other developing countries have witnessed fundamental
changes in their condition over time. To a large extent,
labour unions have played significant roles in the
transformation of most developing countries.
Government is the largest employer of labour with private
individual employing a minimal proportion of the working
class (Fajara, 2000). In Nigeria, labour unions has
become a very important agents of socio-economic
transformation and class struggle (Aremu, 1996,
Akinyanju, 1997) which began from the colonial struggle
and continued till in the post independence era. In the
later, labour unions played significant role in the struggle
against dictatorial military rule in the country. In the
same vein under the current civilian dispensation, labour
unions is at the forefront of the struggle against
unpopular government policies such as deregulation of
the oil sector, retrenchment of workers and refusal to
honor agreement on wage increase.
Nigeria is a third world country that comprise of labour
unions spread across the country. The unions are
structured into industrial line and as at 1977 precisely
42 labour unions were recognized by the Government
and allowed to contribute enormously to the development
of economic, social, cultural and even political system of
the state. The role of these labour unions is usually
regarded as people oriented because it tends to oppose
Governmental policies and decisions not favorable to the
masses through strike actions, protest etc popularly
called labour unrest.
However, in a multi ethnic democratic country like
Nigeria, there exist different labour unions across the
country. But for the purpose of this study, we shall dwell
more on those labour unions that have in one way or the
other succeeded in influencing Governmental policies
and decision. In the past such as: National Union of
Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Nigeria
Labour Congress (NLC), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT),
Trade Union Congress (TUC), Academic Staff Union of
Universities (ASUU), Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior
Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAU) Nigerian Union
of Journalist (NUJ).
In 1978 however, it’s important to note that Nigerian
Labour Congress (NLC) was formed and inaugurated and
the 42 industrial unions became affiliates of the Nigerian
Labour Congress with a legal backing of the trade union
amendment Decree 22 of 1978. Again in 1989 the trade
union was restructured to become 29 affiliates unions to
the Nigerian Labour Congress after their role against the
anti-people Structural Adjustment programme of General
Consequently, in 2005, the trade union act section 33 (2)
was amended by substituting the phrase “central labour
organization” for the phrase “federation of trade unions”
the intention was to weaken the cohesion of the trade
Since time immemorial labour unrest has always
occupied the front burner of criticisms and oppositions.
in Nigeria whenever the Government through its policies
makes life unbearable for its citizens.
Nevertheless most activities of the organized labour in the
form of unrest to attack Government policies and
programmes often result in underdevelopment and
grounding of the economy culminating in loss of revenues
and sundry economic activities. However, it is not
implausible to aver that one of the greatest problems that
result to labour unrest and consequently
underdevelopment is Governmental policies and
programmes on certain National issues especially those
that affect the labour unions across the Nation.
In the light of these, this research work is inspired out of
the burning desire to interrogate the motive of the labour
union in their activities through protest, strikes etc
against certain Governmental policies and programmes
through a critical analysis and alternative roadmap to
labour unrest with a view to averting resultant and decay
in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Labour unrest remain one of the most glaring problems
hindering the development of this great nation especially
when Government tends to implement policies and
programmes not favorably for the majority of the people
in the society (country). This is because the labour
unions, using the NLC (Nigeria Labour Congress) ad TUC
(Trade Union Congress) as the umbrella bodies tends to
constitute parts of organization or union that keeps the
country going through their daily activities. In order
words, when there is labour unrest, the economy of the
country tends to be disrupted and destabilized which is
why whenever Government policies and programmes that
are not favorable to labour are formulated, there is
usually a mass protest and strikes that dislocates the
economy as the civil servants who are very significant to
the Government of the day also partake in the strike and
protest by not going to work.
However, the study shall make a critical appraisal of
some of the major cases (protest and strikes) by labour
unions and also investigate their modus operandi, so as
to River at the objectives of the study, in the quest of
doing this, the following research question would serve as
a guide.
i. Are public policies responsible for labour unrest
in Nigeria?
ii. Is underdevelopment a consequent of labour
unrest in Nigeria?
iii. Can dialogue and collective bargaining curb
labour unrest in Nigeria?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of the study is to assess the
consequences of labour unrest on Nigeria’s development.
Thus the specific objectives of the study are:
(i) To ascertain if public policies are responsible for
labour unrest in Nigeria.
(ii) To determine if underdevelopment is a
consequence of labour unrest in Nigeria.
(iii) To discover if dialogue and collective bargaining
can curb labour union in Nigeria


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