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This project is an attempt to examine the study of managing industrial disputes in higher institution with particular reference to Enugu state university of science and technology (ESUT) Enugu. And to suggest ways by which the management of higher institutions in Enugu State will follow to manage the disputes efficiently and effectively.  Chapter one consists of the general introduction of the research topic, statement of the problems, objectives of the research topic, scope of the study significance of the study, research questions, and definition of terms.  Chapter two is the review of related and relevant literature and is treated under such sub topics: as meaning of industrial dispute, meaning of industrial relations, types of dispute, effect of industrial disputes in institutions of higher learning, procedures for settling disputes, and factors responsible for industrial disputes in higher institutions.   Chapter three deals with research methodology. It is treated under the following topics.  Sources of data collection for the study, research population, sample and sampling techniques used instrument and method of data collection.  Chapter four states the analysis, presentation and interpretation of   data collected. Hence it was discovered that industrial dispute result in strikes and other industrial actions. That constant demand for improved welfare by workers and government’s refusal to meet these demands are some of the causes of the disputes; etc. some recommendations were made which if well implemented will reduce if not end the incessant industrial actions.



Title Page                                                       ii

Approval Page                                                  iii

Certification                                                     iv

Dedication                                                      v

Acknowledgement                                            vi

Abstract                                                         vii

Table of Contents                                             viii

List of Tables                                                   ix



  • Background of the Study 1
  • Statement of the Problem 8
  • Objectives of the Study 11
  • Research Questions 12
  • Significance of the Study 13
  • Scope of the Study 15
  • Limitations of the study 15
  • Definition of Terms.        16


  • Meaning of Industrial Dispute 17
  • Meaning of Industrial Relations 19
  • Types of Dispute 24
  • Effect of Industrial Disputes in Institutions

of Higher Learning                                     27

  • Procedures for settling trade disputes 29
  • Factors responsible for industrial disputes in higher institutions of learning 35


  • Research Design                                   44
  • Research Population        45
  • Sample Selection for the study                    46
  • Sampling Technique 47
  • Method of Data Collection 47
  • Validity of Instrument 47
  • Reliability of Instrument 47
  • Method of Data Presentation and Analysis 48


4.1  Data Presentation and Analysis                    49

4.2  Data Presentation                                      49

4.3  Interpretation of Results                             76



5.1 Summary of Findings                                   81

5.2 conclusion                                                 84

5.3  Recommendations                                     86










In the formation of the nation’s industrial relations policy, the federal government was influenced by the country’s social and economic conditions and the standard set by the international labour organization (ILO) and Nigeria is a member.

In Nigeria, trade union service and industrial relations department under the federal ministry of labour and productivity are primary responsible for the promotion and maintenance of industrial peace and harmony in all the trade disputes which (ie employers and workers or union members) have failed to settle through internal machinery designed to reach amicable settlement of disputes.

Despite the existence of these two departments, industrial crises involving a total number of 13,27 trade disputes were handled within the past seven resulting in 813 strikes and lock-out.

Only 821 of the disputes were settle through intervention and conciliation oout of 1,327 while 307 were referred to industrial Arbitration panel (IAP) and national industrial court settled 205 of such disputes.

With these industrial relation could be defined as the network social relationship between the employees and their employers and their associations and government and their numerous agencies in their attempts to replete terms and condition of employment and perform other functions that directly or indirectly concern the initiation and sustenance of peaceful and purposeful labour management relations which involves applying machineray dealing with complains grievances and dispute n an organization.

Armstrong E. (1980) sees industrial relations as the inter-twining activities of the workers management and government for better working conditions.

Meanwhile the upsurge in strike and industrial tension could be blamed on the suspicious issue between employers and workers as well as inter union crisis.  In a bid to maximize their standard of living which often eroded by inflation working demand higher pay and better working condition of service higher pay and better working condition or service while employer resist such request because they fear if might reduce their profits.

This refusal may result to strike or individual conflict.  In the public sector government resist it because of unavailability of funds and the likely economic consequences.

The causes of these inter or intra union disputes may be traced to communication gap between the official and member alleged misappropriation of funds or embezzlement of union funds arbitrary dismissal of national offictus by the union refusal to call national delegates conferences as and when dues.

In recent years trade disputes especially those of intera and inter union cases have results in litigations in the law court.  Some disputes had led to the institutions of ore than 30 court cases involving different trade union.  It has become the order of the day among trade union.  It has became the order of the day among trade union leaders to take the intra and inter union dispute to civil courts rather than uses settlmetn machinery provided for them under the traded dispute act of 1976 (Amendment decree).  The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is the umbrella organization for all the trade union in the country was created by the trade union decree of 1978 by which the government organized the country’s labour force into 42 trade union.  The decree set out how the law will be, how to appoint the officers who is qualified for membership and requirement that each union must file and annual statement of account with the registrar of trade unions in the Federal Ministry of labour and productivity.

The industrial relations decree of 1979 sets out the details of how disputes between the employer and employees unions are to be settled.

Employers are employees union are required to attempt internal settlement bargaining.  Where this fails there is provision for the declaration of formal trade dispute and for the matter declaration of referred to the ministry of labour and productivity?  Or where the internal mechanism of conflict resolution fails the external mechanisms of confict resolution will start.

Mediator is the first panel.  The trade dispute act makes it mandatory for employers and unions to meet within seven (7) days after the dispute must have been declared either by themselves or their representative under the chairmanship of a mediator mutually agreed upon and appointed by one or both of the parties with a view to an amicable settlement of the dispute.  The mediator must be seen to the impartial by the parties and to impose his decision on any of the parties.

Where the mediator fails the parties will report productivity (FMELP) within fourteen 914) days.  The ministry will appoint a conciliator for the purpose of solving the conflict. The conciliator shall inquire into the cause and the circumstance of the dispute.  If settlement is reached within 14days he shall forward a memorandum of the terms of the settlement duly signed by the parties involved to the minister but if he fails he will within another 14dasy refer the case to arbitrator.

The industrial arbitration panel (IAP) marks the beginning of the judicial process for resolving disputes.  The dispute much to referred to them within 62days after it started IAP was created in 1969 and it settler disputes that cannot be handled through medication and conciliation court the IAP are given 42 days to settle the dispute.

They should refer it to national industrial court (NIC) if there is no improvement.  NIC are given 22days to refer it to the ministers if there is no settlement.

Section 23 of trade dispute act, empower the minister of labour to set up a board of injuring and investigation to injunre and investigation disputes and employment problems.  Meanwhile trade dispute decree No. 7 of 1976 requires parties to a disputes to higher learning is marked by incessant industrial actions.  The first was in July 1988 when academic staff and union of Nigeria Universities (ASUU) embarked on a strike action against their employers the national universities commission/ federal ministry of education and their individual universities.

In Enugu State Higher Institute of learning have experience e as many period of industrial unread.  Trade dispute are often declared by the trade union in these institutions.  The main ones are the academic staff union of universities (ASUU) Senior Staff Association of Universities etc. Trade dispute are declared against the institution authorities some of the dispute have been successfully resolved through internal negotiation, while others have been resolved through mediation and conciliation by a third party in an amicable procedure .



Over the last thirty years in Nigeria, the education al system has witnessed an unprecedented industrial unrest and so many official assaults than other social institutions.  According to Onuoha (2001:8), this is so perhaps because of its strategic place both in the nations hierarchy of priorities and its considered role as a veritable mahcines for development.  In his own contribution, Nwankwo (2000:37) opined that Nigeria educational institutions, characterized by military intervention in governance have witnessed untold negative political interference and a seeming calculated moves to submerge its in the river of irrelevances.

In a press briefing on 30th August in Calabar, ASUU president Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie accused the minister of Education of no presenting the time facts concerning governments handling of the issues that led to the strike.  He expressed regret that the minister claimed in his reaction to the strike, that there was no agreement between the Federal Government and the Union (ASUU) and that the government needed to review tat agreement because of the global economic meltdown.

Management of industrial disputes in higher institutions have been a task, strike and difficult to resolve because of the legal procedures of mediation and conciliation have always proved abortive.  Disputes is often resolved when the real action on its resolution is taken place in higher learning, it will also highlight the various factors that often lead to such industrial conflict why there has always been break-down in negotiations and industrial conflict management continue to be difficult.  The research findings will be useful to the  institution authority because it will help them take situation that will create industrial conflict.

Also it will help them to know how to approve industrial  conflicts.  The findings will also useful to the union representatives in that it will highlight why industrial conflict occur or persist because of their wrong approach to settlements.

Further more is make employers union representatives and employees union understand the importance of industrial peace as in the development of healthy industrial relations and rational development.

Finally it will be useful to any students who will carryout a related study in the future as the importance provided it will be helpful.


The objectives of this study, among other things include:

(1)   To examine the nature of trade dispute in institutions of higher learning in Enugu State.

(2)   To examine the problems of industrial dispute management in these institutions.

(3)   To examine the procedure usually adopted by the parties in the settlement of these disputes.

(4)   To examine the factors responsible for trade disputes in the higher institutions.

(5)   To check if the procedures are in conformity with the stipulation of the trade decree act 1976 in resolution of the trade disputes.

(6).  To suggest ways of improving the management of industrial disputes in these institutions.


  1. What is the nature of trade dispute or industrial conflicts in institution of higher learning in Enugu State?
  2. What factors are responsible for industrial conflict in the institutions?
  3. What are the procedures usually adopted by the parties in conflict in resolving this conflict.
  4. These procedures are they in conformity with these stipulated in trade dispute decree of 1979 on how to resolve industrial conflict?
  5. How effective have the settlement machinery been in managing these industrial disputes?
  6. What are the problems of industrial disputes?
  7. What ways can we improve disputes management system.



       This research is very significant in many respects.  First, it will explain in the nature of industrial disputes in our institution of higher learning.  In doing this, therefore it will highlight the various factors that often lead to such industrial conflicts, why there has always been break-down in negotiation, and why industrial conflict management continue to be difficult.

The research findings will therefore be useful to the institutions authority because it will help hem take decisions that will forestall the emergence of a situation that will create industrial conflict.  Also it will help them to know how to approve industrial conflicts with a view to settle them amicably.  Thus, the findings will make contributions towards successful resolution of industrial conflicts.

The findings will also be useful to the union respectively in that it will highlight why industrial disputes often result or persist because of their wrong approach to settlements.

Besides, it will make all parties in dispute to understand the need for amicably resolution of industrial conflicts through concession and compromise.  Furthermore, it will make employers union representatives and union members understand the importance of industrial peace as it help dint he development of health, industrial relation and rational development.

Finally, it will be useful to an student who will carry out a related study in the future as the information it provided, will be very helpful.


This study covers Enugu State and will be based on some selected tertiary institutions within the area.  It specifically appraised industrial conflict.


The researcher encountered some constraints which hindered the success of the research.  Some of the hindrance included lack of money, time and attitude of some the respondents.

The researcher did not have enough money to go about pursuing the research endeavour, however the managed to scale through within the little money with him.  Time was another factor that  nearly married the success of the research.

Some of the respondents were difficult in giving the needed information.



–      Conciliator:  Persons appointed by the Honourable Ministry of labour to settle the industrial disputes if a mediator fails.

–      Conciliation:  The process of settlement under the auspices of a conciliator.

–      Industrial Dispute:  A situation of disharmony in industrial relations between employers and employees.

–      Industrial Reactions:  Relationship between employers and employees.

–      Industrial Arbitration Panel:  A body established to settle industrial disputes and to give a binding decision.

      Nigeria labour Congress:  The umbrella organization for all the trade union in the country.

–      Mediator:  The first person usually agrees upon by parties in dispute to settle the dispute.

–      Medication:  The process of settlement using a mediator


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