COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AND INDUSTRIAL HARMONY IN THE NIGERIAN PUBLIC SERVICE

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AND INDUSTRIAL HARMONY IN THE NIGERIAN PUBLIC SERVICE

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Abstract

Collective bargaining is essentially the negotiations about working conditions and term of employment between the employer s and employees or government with the view to reaching an agreement.  It primary aim is to bring both parties in a working relationship together for the purpose to ensure industrial harmony and the attainment of organizational goal. The aim of the project is to find out how collective bargaining can effectively ensure industrial harmony thereby increasing productivity and improve performance through collective agreement. The study adopted the survey research design involving the administration of questionnaires to a sampled population. The results of the study showed that while collective bargaining is a veritable instrument for ensuring industrial harmony, the collective barging process as a tool for promoting industrial harmony has been inundated by problems such as corrupt practices, leadership tussle, political interest/affiliations of union leaders and weak legal framework for successful implementation of collective agreement. The study further revealed that collective bargaining in Lagos state university is seriously undermined by the activities of the management of Lagos state university, zero sum nature of governance, political interest of union leaders, poor negotiating skills and idiosyncratic behavior of labour union leaders in Lagos state university. Based on these findings, the study recommended the building of  co-operative spirit in other to maintain a stable and sustainable economic, social and political development of the country. Although there has been records of misdirection and misplaced priority by some of the unionists, but with the recent socioeconomic development in Nigeria, one can imagine the influence trade unionism could have in the country if proper guidance and support are given to them by the government or other superior authorities or agencies. On the other hand labour union should promote the principle of collective bargaining instead of embarking on incessant strike that would disrupt the economy and inadvertently affect productivity and by extension government capacity to meet their In addition, the integrity of labour union members needs to be examined critically, so that they do not compromise or betray the trust of union members.Union leaders should try as much as possible to separate their personal interest and ambition from the collective interest of union members.It is also recommended that union members should undergo training to sharpen their negotiating skills in order to ensure that they are able to wrestle positive from the collective bargaining process.


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background of the study

There has been growing a fear about strained labour management relations in Nigeria in the recent times. This concern arises from the need to improve relations and particularly collective bargaining process in developing countries. Industrial relation is a management tool applied to eradicate or remove industrial conflict thus ensuring industrial peace and harmony. This is done through bridging the relationship gap between management and workers. When management establishes good industrial elations within an organization traipses of industrial conflict and misunderstanding would be naturalized and peace is enthroned (Fashoyin, 2002).

The nature of labour management relation in contemporary Nigeria when critically show that, a sizeable proportion or employers still disregard the significance of industrial harmony as a gateway to quality, control circle - master piece for productivity. Quality control circles a new management principle or the industry into a family arena or partners in progress. Consequently, when there is benefit of doubt on assumed confidence against any of the parties' disagreement and conflict come up and industrial harmony is strained. This can lead lo industrial strife, unrest and strike, if not curtailed any government which fails to take precautions over industrial unrest may face the problems of resuscitating its economy for better, after a hard time (Fashoyin, 2002). A host of definition has been put up by renowned labor leaders and used explained the meaning of industrial relation and collective bargaining thus.

Cordova, (1980), defines industrial relations as "the process of interest accommodation by which conditions of work are fixed, relations are regulated and power is shared in the field of labour. Flanders, (1970), defined collective bargaining as a "social process that continually turns disagreements into agreement in an orderly fashion" "collective bargaining aims to establish by negotiation and discussion agreed rules and decisions on matters of mutual concern to employers and unions as well as group and the employers" or different positions on issues such as negotiation on salaries and wages, management policies etc.

The representatives in bargaining process must deal with each other in good faith and adopt the spirit of give and take.  By its very nature, collective bargaining is usually a complicated time consuming and exasperating exercise.  The ultimate goal of any negotiation is the agreements which may not necessarily resolve all issue in dispute (Cordova,1980).

The social cost of conflict is so enormous that a serious manager would do all within his capacity to find out the best strategy /or conflict resolution. In case of tertiary education, like Nigerian Universities, unsettled conflict has serious implication on the number of years the students would spend in the Universities as well as the victim of retrenchment exercise accompanying the face-off between the labour union and the employer.

It is against this background that this research work sought to assess the effectiveness of collective bargaining as a strategy for industrial harmony in Nigerian public services, using Lagos state University as its case study.

1.2     Statement of problem

In view of the adverse effect experienced by organization, as a result of dispute, the studies have identified the following problems below:

The strained labour and management relation in Nigeria has been attributed to low income of the workers. Which has restrained industrial peace, a situation where an employee perceive that he is paid less for the services rendered to the organization it becomes imperative forsuch an employee to continue given out is best to the organization.

In addition, most of the industries in West Africa, especially in Nigeria have a poor welfare packages for their employee, they were only recognized by there multi-million naira physical structure and less to appreciate about there employee working condition. The unfavorable working condition has put many out of job and the enduring ones because or industrial unrest and this is not good in ensuring industrial harmony.

Furthermore, in many organization where parochial sentiment apply to their terms of employment, such employee under this influence may be perceived as an enemy in achieving their collective goal by other member of the organization. This issue of perceiving the other party us an enemy goes along way in bringing about, division in labour union.

Also, many organizations have been battling with many problems which are not unconnected with their leadership style, and have brought about poor organization performance, and lack or confidence in relating with such a manager, that failed to associate himself with the employee in bringing out the best in them.

However, the state as the policy maker con tributes in various industrial unrest, has restrained industrial harmony. Government policy to be active participant in some industry has generated more confusion in meeting the demand of labour. The inconsistence in various governments has made so many organizations to fold-up.

1.3     Objective of the study

The main objective of the study is to examine collective bargaining and industrial harmony in public services, using Lagos state University as a case study.

The specific objective however includes:

1.            To examine the nature of collective bargaining in Lagos state university.

2.            To  examine the effect of leadership tussle among labour leaders on the effectiveness of collective bargaining in Lagos state university.

3.            To examine whether political interest of labour leaders affects the efficacy of collective bargaining as an instrument of industrial harmony in Lagos state university.

4.            To examine the effect of weak legal framework for enforcing collective agreement on industrial harmony in Lagos state university.

1.4     Research questions

1.            What is the nature of collective bargaining in Lagos state university?

2.            What is the effect of leadership tussle among labour leaders on the effectiveness of collective bargaining in Lagos state university.

3.            Does political interest of labour leaders affects the efficacy of collective bargaining as an instrument of industrial harmony in Lagos state university?

4.            What is the effect of weak legal framework for enforcing collective agreement on industrial harmony in Lagos state university?

1.5     Research Hypotheses

The following research Hypotheses will be tested in the study

Ho1: There is no significant relationship between leadership tussle among labour leaders and the efficacy of collective bargaining as instrument for ensuring industrial harmony in Lagos state university.

Ho2: There is no significant relationship between political interest of labour leaders and the efficacy of collective bargaining as instrument for ensuring industrial harmony in Lagos state university.

Ho3: There is no significant relationship between weak legal framework for enforcing collective agreement and industrial harmony in Lagos state university.

1.6     Significance of study

The study is significant because it will examine the effect of collective bargaining on industrial harmony in the manufacturing industry in Nigeria.

The following can be acclaimed as the beneficiaries of this research. First, to the industry under review, it will enable them to determine the effect of collective bargaining on industrial harmony, performance, productivity and industrial dispute.

The study will justify the effect of collective bargaining on industrial harmony and also make them understand that strike is not a means to an ends rather it's an ends to a means. That in seeking for their right, there are legal procedure that might not result to strike. As strike should be last measure of seeking redress.

To employer, the study will also enable them to understand t he effect or collective bargaining on industrial harmony, productivity and performance. That the main reasons why there is industrial unrest is cause by the attitude, self aggrandizement display by top management officials to respect the collective bargaining agreement in ensuring industrial harmony.

To the students, it will serve as a practicing ground that collective agreement vital in their daily unionist activities that the only way they can compel obedience is through collective bargaining.

However, to researchers and scholars, in the field of human resource management, it will be of significant important, because this research work will serve as an effort ground towards finding the necessary solution to ensuring industrial harmony. Cordova, (1980), beliefs, collective bargaining is usually a complicated time consuming and exasperating exercise.

And finally, the research work is also significant to the policy makers because it will ensure that policy made are through reflection or expressions of the feeling of the Nigeria labour. Rather than adopting a by-product of British labour policy.

1.7     Scope and limitations

In order to accomplish the objective of this research work, the area covered by the study is Lagos State University (LASU Ojo) more emphasis shall be laid on the union members and the individual relation department, management and staff or the company.

However, data will be used in the course or the study will be obtained from this organization for the analysis and interpretation of the result finding will be based on these data.

1.8     Definition of terms

·        Collective bargaining: the process of negotiating wages and other working conditions collectively between employers and trade unions, it enables the conditions of employees to be agreed as a whole group instead or individually.

·        Employees Welfare: that prescribes some amenities and facilities that ought to be provided for the well-being of workers at the work place. The welfare stipulated by the Decree include the supply of drinking water, washing facilities, provision of accommodation for clothing, readily accessible first aid box or cupboard, except where an ambulance room is provided.

·        Industrial conflict: Kornhouser (1954) defined industrial conflict as the range and behaviours and altitude that express opposition and divergent orientations between industrial owners and managers on one hand and working people and their organization on the other.

·        Industrial Relation: industrial relations can be regarded as a system or web of rules regulating employment and the ways in which people behave at work. The systems theory of industrial relations, as propounded by Dun lop (1958), states t hat the role of the system is to produce the regulations and procedural rules that govern how much is distributed in the bargaining process and how the pat-tics involved, in the industrial relations scene, relate to one another.


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