University worldwide is regarded as the citadel of knowledge, the
fountain of intellectualism the most appropriate ground for the incubation of
leaders of tomorrow. According to Ike (1999:1) a university fulfills, o e major
function it is a knowledge and value provider it stand or fails in its ability
or inability to deliver on this criteria. According to magna carta
universitatum, “the university is an autonomous institution at the heart of
societies differently organized because of geographically and historical
heritage; it produces, examines, appraises and hands down culture by research and
is an enterprise that serves multi disciplinary purposes. This according to
Nwankwo (2000:25) explains why merit has been the watchword in the university
system – a system a student must first be certified worthy in character and
learning before being admitted into the Honours Degree Hall. Universities are
key author in national development, more so in Africa than in other regions.
Their roles in research and this explains why the Federal Government of Nigeria
is acknowledging the university as a fulcrum for national development, set up a
commission headed by Chief Gray Longe 1992 to review higher education in
Nigeria with particular reference to universities in Nigeria. The commission
was given terms of reference amongst which were;
i. To re-examine the developmental roles of
universities in developing countries such as Nigeria.
ii. Determine the middle and higher level manpower
supply and demand of the country, and advice in the area of under / over
population and under/ over utilization of the same.
the availability and adequacy of academic staff in universities.
the nature, sources and criteria of funding in higher educational institutions.
(Especially universities) with a view to improving the situation and
guaranteeing steady source of funds for optimal functional of these
v. Review the general condition of staff in higher
educational institutions such as salaries, pensions and retirement benefit,
housing of the public service and private sector and particularly to stemming
the brain drain phenomenon.
the criteria for appointment of administration, including the vice-chancellor,
provosts, rector, registrars and other principal officers, their terms of
office and the process of renewal of their appointment.
The commission held special sessions with a number of eminent
personalities and educationist from whose knowledge and experience of the
educational system in Nigeria it benefited immensely.
Finally, the commission defined higher education as the type of education in
higher educational institution especially in universities (conventional and
specialized), which produce high level and middle level manpower, but not
specialized set up by professional bodies.
The commission also noted that the goals and objectives among others include;
teaching, research and public service. The commission observed that Nigeria
universities had established standard comparable to the best in other parts of
the world. The commission, however, frowned at the discovery that the following
physical conditions are still the trade - marks of the Nigerian universities;
workshops equipment in most of the higher institutions.
facilities such as libraries, lecture rooms, laboratories and work farms.
The commission was also appalled by the fact that universities
have not achieved much in terms of the goals and objectives for which they were
set up, owing to incessant disruption in the academic flow chart caused
by strike actions, industrial unrest, students hooliganism, political instability
Based on these discoveries, the
commission recommended among others, that;
(i) The university education as the apex of the
system of higher education should play a leadership role in the nation
providing people of special qualification and motivation.
(ii) Universities education is not a means to earn a
living. It should also equip the individual to the highest level of his ability
with the intellectual and physical skill which he requires to be an innovative,
creative and self-reliant member of the society.
(iii) The university, because of its key role in the
overall economy should always encourage and facilitate industrial harmony and
provide a conducive atmosphere for learning and attainment of other goals and
The government on its part accepted these recommendations and
thus, commented as follows:
(i) That university should undertake periodic
reviews of programmes and activities to meet national priority goals as defined
from time to time.
(ii) In order to develop closer academic / industrial
relationship and also ensure that the programmes of tertiary
institutions are relevant to the needs of the industry and the national
economy, there should be regular interaction between the institutions, the
employers of their products, and the National Manpower Board.
(iii) The government on its own pat should render its
lawful obligations to the universities by providing funds, research grants, the
required infrastructure (roads, laboratories , electricity, telephone), a
conducive learning environment and allowing universities to operate
autonomously by ensuring that government does not interfere with the university
(iv) To encourage industrial harmony in the higher
educational institutions by passing laws that will preserve the rights of
various interest groups within the university system, especially organized
trade unions and employers associated.
This is however, the general picture of the events that surrounds
the university system in Nigeria. We shall examine at the appropriate chapters
of this work how far these major actors in industrial disputes have discharge
their respective obligations in order to reduce the rate of industrial disputes
in the Nigeria universities.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Over the last thirty years in Nigeria, the educational system has
witnessed an unprecedented industrial unrest and so many official assaults than
other social institution. According to Onuoha (2001:8), this is so perhaps,
because of its strategic place both in the nation’s hierarchy of priorities and
its considered role as a veritable machine 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 it
in the river of irrelevances. He further argued that those in authorities see
universities as a burden and as institutions to be exploited and left desolate.
Consequent upon this ures, non-payment development, our universities he
posited, have become aberrations of themselves. The manifestation are in form
of cultism, brain drain, under funding by government, erosion of academic
freedom, general insecurity, dilapidated he structures, non-payment of
university staff salaries. These are indications that all is not well
with the Nigeria university system.
ASUU went on strike on 27th June,
2009 in protest against non implementation of agreement against signed with the
federal government of Nigeria.
In a press briefing on 30th August
in Calabar, ASUU president, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie accused the Minister of
Education of not presenting the true facts concerning government’s 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 the agreement because of the global economic meltdown. He said the
minister also claimed that government was not properly briefed during the
negotiations and that the strike action by ASUU would further
reduce the quality of education, which the union claimed that it was fighting
Awuzie described the minister’s remarks as “particularly vexatious and
unfortunate” as the federal government was responsible for the strike action,
which has thrown the university system into another turmoil. He
said contrary to the minister’s assertion, there was an agreement reached between
the federal government and the union (ASUU). On May 12, 20009 and government
invitation, they assembled at the NUC to sign the agreement between the federal
government of Nigeria (FGN) and ASUU. He said the union is on strike “to
persuade government to be serious for once and take the interest of its
citizens seriously by signing the agreement already reached.” According to him,
the much touted sum of N78 billion is actually the shortfall in the amount
needed to fund personnel emoluments arising from the various agreements which
government has reached with hall federal tertiary institution in the country.
He said it was therefore not true that N78 billion was needed to fund the
FGN/ASUU agreement as claimed by the minister. “It was an assertion meant to
politicize the issues, deceive and hoodwink the Nigerian people. By the way, is
it not a crying shame that our government finds the same N78 billion too much
to spend over a period of time to revamp t the educational system? Yet, the
same government wastes millions of Naira on frivolities”, he said.
He added that even though the present government touts education as one of the
issues in the seen-point agenda, the allocation to education in the 2009 budget
betrayed its lack commitment to the education of Nigerians. The ASUU president
further argued, “ASUU believes that with an average of N120 billion earned from
oil each day, government should be able to fund education effectively. If it
considers this impossible, the money should be enough to increase access to
education by a greater majority of our people. We cannot aspire to being one of
the developed economies by 2020, if the bulk of our citizenry remain uneducated
as is the case today.” He however, assured that the union will call off the
strike as soon as the federal government signs the agreement reached with the
ASUU strike ended on October 22nd,
2009 by 8:10pm.
The incessant strikes closures and boycotts of lectures on work by academic and
non- academic staff in our universities are also evidences that there is
strained industrial relations in the Nigerian university system.
In the light of the above facts, the management of these universities has been
confronted with the following problems.
find ways of improving such deteriorated relationship in order to move the
education industry forward.
find the causes of the deterioration in relationship between the labour and
The sources of discontent in our university system are in
exhaustive. According to Akpala (1982:56) it has bearing with present
economic situation in the country, our political history and inheritances
authoritarian attitudes of both the government and university. Management
towards labour issues, the presence of obsolete labour laws, corruption in all
segments of the society, mal administration, class conflict and struggle,
struggle for survival etc. Also in the list of the problems is the inability of
the Nigerian universities to actualize the objectives for which they were
established, such as a training of high caliber manpower etc. it was on the
basis of the above problems that the researcher was motivated to conduct this
research work to find out the true position of things in the Nigerian
University system and to state the facts as they are without any bias and to
proffer some solutions.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study had the following objectives:
determination of the causes of industrial disputes.
determination of ways of ensuring industrial harmony in the future.
(iii) To find out
the consequences/implications of industrial unrest in the Nigerian university
determination of factors stalling workers participation in decision making.
know the strategies used by:
government in solving industrial disputes in the Nigerian university system.
(vi) To determine
the frequency of industrial disputes in the Nigerian university system.
(vii) To know how industrial disputes could be managed.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This research work will enable the researcher to come up with answers to the
following research questions namely:
are the likely causes of industrial disputes in the Nigerian university system?
(ii) What are the ways of ensuring industrial harmony
in the future?
(iii) What are the consequences / implications of
industrial unrest in the Nigerian university system?
(iv) What are the factors that militate against
worker’s participation in decision making?
(v) What are the strategies used by:
worker’s union (trade union)
government in settling industrial disputes in the Nigerian university system?
(vi) How often does a trade dispute arise in the
Nigerian university system?
(vii) How can industrial disputes be managed?
1.5 FORMULATION OF HYPOTHESES
The following hypothesis related to the study:
(i) H0: There is no difference I the proportion of
staff of ESUT and UNN who are of the opinion that industrial crisis
is independent of university management.
H1: There is difference in the proportion of staff of ESUT and UNN
who are of the opinion that industrial crisis is independence of university
(2) H0: There is no difference in
the proportion of the staff of both
ESUT and UNN who are of the
opinion that industrial disputes in the Nigerian university system are
dependent on management indifference to union needs.
H1: There is difference in the proportion of the staff of both ESUT and UNN
who is of the opinion that industrial disputes in the
Nigerian university system are not dependent on management indifference to
(3) H0: There is no
difference in the proportion of staff of ESUT and UNN who are of the opinion
that trade unions contribute to industrial disputes.
H1: There is difference in the proportion of staff of ESUT and UNN
who are of the opinion that trade unions contribute to industrial disputes.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY.
A study on industrial relations would not only be beneficial to
the state, employers of labour and employees but to the society as a whole.
Labour issues have bearing with integrated national planning. It contributes to
manpower development and harmonized industrial relations, which promotes rapid
economic development. Besides, a peaceful industrial atmosphere is required to
actualize the noble objectives for which universities were set or established
The research work is significant in a number of ways, which
(1) With the introduction of the concept of
management in industrial disputes, the research has contributed to the pod of
knowledge already available and therefore adding to the existing literature.
(2) Following the discovery of a fault in the
process of collective bargaining, it will spur and support other researchers in
the area of collective bargaining.
(3) The study is significant to the state and
federal governments who will appreciate that the inability to implement the
joint decisions reached has been a source of dispute in the university system
(4) The study is significant to university
management who are now in vantage position to apply management by consultation
in all issues involving labour.
(5) The study would also benefit labour union that
in the course of this research would understand that even though their demands
are imperative in line with the economic realities, must consider the lean
resources of the state and the position of management before embarking on
strike. Under a democratic setting, industrial relations is a different issue.
Democracy promoter’s freedom and guarantees conducive atmosphere for expression
of feelings. But such rights should not be abused or suppressed into witch
hunting for selfish interests. We must demand for what is right so long as it
is within the labour laws and what is right so long as it is within the labour
laws and what is right must be done so long as it within the labour laws and
what is right must be done so long as it is within the state resources. This
research work will also be beneficial to the researcher as it is a requirement
for award at a higher degree to the researcher.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study is the research boundary. This research focuses on
industrial disputes in the Nigerian university system. Emphasis is laid on the
management of industrial disputes with a view to identifying the causes, the
dimension and socio-economic implications of industrial disputes in our society.
The scope also revolves on the machinery of reaching collective bargain and
identification of parties and their objectives as it relates to tripartism in
The scope of the study will be limited to universities in Enugu state.
The research work will pay attention to Enugu state university of Science and
Technology (ESUT) and university of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
- This means
refusal of wage earners to have dealing with or to Patronize, a business
organization when there is an organized labour grievance.
Collective Bargaining -
This simply means all methods by which groups of workers and relevant employers
come together to attempt to
This is any person who is not a manager and who works for another in any
organization for fixed wages.
Employer - This
means the owner(s) of work. This can be business owners, organization,
partnership, sole proprietorship, private or public limited company, government
A tripartite relationship involving three parties namely, the owners of work,
the employees or their representatives and government agency for the purpose of
setting job rules and regulations.
Industrial Disputes: -
When there is inability among the participating parties in industrial relations
to reach peaceful agreements as it affects job rules and conditions of work generally.
- This is the employer’s action of closing a business enterprise
for the purpose of enforcing a demand on the employees by causing them to be
thrown out of work.
This means the action of striking workers to prevent other persons from taking
their places in the plant or establishment and induce their colleagues who have
not joined the strike action to do so.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY
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