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1.1       Background to the Study

Nigerian workers like their counterparts in other developing countries have witnessed fundamental changes in their condition over time. To a large extent, trade unions have played significant role in this transformation. In most developing countries, government is the largest employer of labour with private individuals employing a minimal proportion of the working class (Fajana, 2000).

In Nigeria, trade unions have become important agent of socio-economic transformation and class struggle (Aremu, 1996; Akinyanju 1997). Eminent roles of trade unionism came to the fore in the period of the colonial struggle and continued till the post independence era. In the latter period, trade unions play an important role in the struggle against dictatorial military rule and the restoration of civil rule in the country. More importantly, during the civilian era, trade unions were in the forefront in the struggle against unpopular government policies such as deregulation of the oil sector, retrenchment of workers and refusal to honour agreement on wage increase.

Most unions claim a right of exclusivity. The union has the authority to determine who may be a member of the union and who may not. Most unions assert a right to mandate that only its members, and no others, may be permitted to work at certain jobs. Furthermore, the union contract is exclusive with regard to the employer, an employer is generally not permitted to seek out the services of another labor union or hire another competing labor union even if he is dissatisfied with the performance of the current labor union (Fajana, 2000).

These organizations may comprise individual workers, professionals, past workers, or the unemployed. The most common, but by no means only, purpose of these organizations is maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment (Fajana, 2000).

According to Baird (2005), in the last five decades globally, trade unions have evolved into a number of forms, influenced by differing political and economic regimes. The immediate objectives and activities of trade unions vary, but may include:

Provision of benefits to members: Early trade unions, like Friendly Societies, often provided a range of benefits to insure members against unemployment, ill health, old age and funeral expenses. In many developed countries, these functions have been assumed by the state; however, the provision of professional training, legal advice and representation for members is still an important benefit of trade union membership.

Collective bargaining: Where trade unions are able to operate openly and are recognized by employers, they may negotiate with employers over wages and working conditions.

Industrial action: Trade unions may organize strikes or resistance to lockouts in furtherance of particular goals.

Political activity: Trade unions may promote legislation favorable to the interests of their members or workers as a whole. To this end they may pursue campaigns, undertake lobbying, or financially support individual candidates or parties for public office.

In business organisations, trade unions play a significant role in directly shaping organisational effeciveness in today’s organisation. The exposure of Nigerian firms and industries to greater market pressures, a growing trend in outsourcing and the growth in a typical employment, employer sponsored forms of participation and representation, and the imposition of legal constraints on the ability of unions to recruit, organise, collectively bargain and take industrial action, has all contributed to the roles of trade unionism (Yusuf, 2008).

Despite the adoption of various internal strategies and the introduction of laws encouraging employers to recognise unions, the downward trend in membership by private organisations has nevertheless continued in recent years, albeit at a slower pace. According to Fajana (2000), how unions respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by the changing nature of work and employment relations will be decisive in determining their level of influence in organisational effectiveness within the workplace in the coming years.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

In Nigeria, welfare of employees is not a priority to most organizations, besides, most employees in the public sector often put up lowered morale due to the uncompetitive welfare package given to them by their employees. This has often sparked misunderstanding between employees and their employers.

In most public sectors, employees are not properly carried along in policy review and implementation. This break in communication is inimical to overall effectiveness in the organization as incessant disagreement with the management often lead to wastage of useful time and drags productivity.

Unions in public organizations often negotiate poorly with their employers instead of having concrete and implementable decision, their negotiations are often undefined and generic and as such unable to address efficiency across boards.

Management-employees relations are a constraint that often triggers breakdown of law and eventual down-tool by employees. This leads to loss of huge resources as useful time is expended on placating the two parties namely, employers and employees. Hence, the need for Trade Unionism and organizational Effectiveness

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to:

ü   assess how Trade Union helps in providing welfare measures for their members in an organization

ü   determine how trade union demands for workers participation in management.

ü   evaluate the extent to which trade union contributes in reducing industrial disputes in an organization

ü   appraise the extent to which management-employees relations influences productivity in the organisation.

1.4       Research Questions

The following research questions were asked in the course of this study:

ü  How does trade Union help in providing welfare measures for their members in an organization?

ü  Does trade union demand for workers participation in management?

ü  To what extent does trade union contributes in reducing industrial disputes in an organization?

ü  Do management-employees relations influence productivity in the organisation?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study

HO1: There is no significant relationship between trade union and provision of welfare measures for their workers in an Organization.

HO2: There is no significant relationship between trade union and demand for workers participation in management

HO3: There is no significant relationship between trade union and reduction in industrial disputes.

HO4: There is no significant relationship between Management-employees relations and productivity in the organization.

1.6       Significance of the Study

Effectiveness of trade unionism has generated a lot of argument over time. The impact of these on effectiveness of organisations has become heated arguments amongst the educated and the illiterates; the rich and the not so rich; and the elites and nobles in the country.

There is a dearth of work on the subject matter of this study so the study is aimed at filling the gap.

Policy makers would find the academic piece a very good guiding document when policies pertaining to the management of employee-employer’s relationship are to be formulated.

For citizens,the research work would make a good enlightening piece for people who intend to know about the subject matter of the research work.

Researchers who are interested in this area would find the book a good reference and starting point for their research.

1.7       Scope of the Study

The study made a research on trade unionism and organisational effectiveness. The study was informed by the quest to numerically evaluate the extent to which trade unionism affects effectiveness in an organisation. The study was limited to Nestle Nigeria Plc.  Lagos.

1.8       Operational Definition of Terms

Compensation Management:According to Ivancevich et al (1994), this can be said to be the totality of financial and non-financial rewards that employee receives in return for his labour or services.

Conflict Resolution: This is organized way of resolving employer-employee differences usually caused by disagreement on pay package or staff welfares as a whole.
This is the reward for labour that is paid on a daily or weekly basis.

Organisation goals: These are goals set by organization to increase its performance indices. This could be long or short term.

Organisation: According to Katz and Kahn (1966), it is defined as an integrated social system with these three cardinal features:

Reward System: This is an existing employees’ reward structure or system in place in an organization. It is usually guided by organizational policy.

Salary: This is the reward for labour that is paid on a monthly basis.

The following terms are defined as used in the study

The ideological justification or values that supports the norms and rules provide for individual commitment to the organization.

The members are functionally interdependent;

The norms of behaviour of members are governed by acceptable behaviour defined by the authority structure and enforced by reward and sanctions; and

Trade Union: A trade union or labor union is an organization of workers. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members (rank and file members) and negotiates labour contracts with employers. This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety and policies. The agreements negotiated by the union leaders are binding on the rank and file members and the employer and in some cases on other non-member workers.


Akinyanju, P. (1997). Trade unions and Democratic struggle in CDHR Nigeria, Non governmental organization and Democracy. Lagos CDHR Pp.65-88.

Aremu, M.P (1996). Industrial Relations: The origin of National Diversities. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Baird, C. (2005). Unions and Antitrust: Governmental Hypocrisy. Foundation for Economic Education, Vol. 50 No. 2.

Fajana, S. (2000). Functioning of the Nigerian Labour Market. Lagos: Lobofin and Co.

Maslow A.H. (1954). Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper and Row.

Otobo, D. (1989). The Role of Trade unions in Nigerian Industrial Relations. London: Malthouse..

Yusuf, N. (2008). Trade Unionism and the Nigerian Worker in The Context Of Contrasting Environment. Afro-Euro Centre for Development Studies, Legal Deposit no.GR-2669-2008


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