Academic journal article Researchers World

Trajectory and Dynamics of Collective Bargaining and Labour Unions in Nigerian Public Sector

Academic journal article Researchers World

Trajectory and Dynamics of Collective Bargaining and Labour Unions in Nigerian Public Sector

Article excerpt


One of the most important functions of organized labour in Nigeria is collective bargaining, a mechanism by which representatives of labour unions negotiate with management of concerned organisations (public or private) over the terms and conditions of service affecting their members. Job performance cannot be enhanced in a work environment characterised by absence of harmonious co-existence among the employers and the employees. It is therefore recognized that one of the official methods of communication is collective bargaining based on voluntarism, participative management and mutual respect. The aim of this paper is to critically examine collective bargaining and the functions of labour unions in the actualization of a successful collective bargaining in the Nigerian Public Sector. The paper discussed labour management negotiations in the Nigeria public sector and recommends that labour and trade unions should strengthen collective bargaining mechanism above salaries and wages negotiation as a means of enhancing the capacity of publicworkers for effective and efficient service delivery.

Keywords: Collective Bargaining, Labour and Trade unions, Public Service.


According to Kennedy cited in Onusanya (2005:290), we must not fear to negotiate and our negotiation must not be in fear. Inherently, bargaining and human existence are inseparable to an extent that where more than two persons are gathered, the next possible party is or should be bargaining.According to Fashoyin (1992:154), the concept of the public sector as used in Nigeria, is an all-embracing entity covering as it were, all agencies and institutions or organizations whose principal benefactor is the government, whether at the federal, state or local government. To this end, all persons and group of persons who works for the government are referred to as the civil or public servants in Nigeria. Basically, the distinction between civil servant and public servant shows that the former refers to a government worker who works in the core ministry while the latter is government worker who is a professional and works in government agency or parastatal


Collective bargaining in Nigeria has become a distinct field of study in industrial relations due to the fact that as Fashoyin (1992:155) acknowledges, the Nigerian public sector accounts for the larger proportion of the wage- earning population in what is generally referred to as 'modem sector employment'. The resultant effect of this is the prominence that collective bargaining matter has assumed in the environment of organizations, dictating and influencing the tone of both public and private sector industrial relations. Though paid employment is popular in Nigeria within the environment of the government, the development came with the private sector initiative. Therefore, Onusanya (2005:690) considers collective bargaining as a product or originalinitiative of the private sector environment.

Efforts to organize public workers are not new and early attempts at organizing dates back to 18th and early 19th Centuries. Public employees have good reasons to form unions (Henry, 2004:259) as a means of advancing their interests. It is not usual for employers to negotiate with each prospective worker on conditions that govern the working life of such an employee in the workplace or environment.Okpanachi (2003) asserts that, the practice of collective bargaining starts with the registration of employee's union after which the executive or management of such union will then bargain collectively on matters pertaining to wage, hours of work and other conditions of employment. Agreement arrived between the two parties will govern all the present and future employees. The Centralized Personnel Agency as Lemay (2000:193) put it is formally charged with the responsibility of representing management in the collective bargaining process involving the public employee unions but where this effort fails, ad hoc commission is always being set up. …

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