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The paper discussed the impact of trade union and collective bargaining in promoting job satisfaction in Abakaliki Local government area of Ebonyi State. The study become necessary because the absence of job satisfaction have lead to inadequate services delivery in the local government system. This is a quantitative research method with survey design. Structural functionalism theory was adopted as the theoretical framework. Chi-square and simple percentage was used for data analysis. Among the major findings were that government interference impede the realization of the benefits of collective bargaining. And that the leaders of the union place their interest above the union. It is therefore recommended that government should stop interfering in the affairs of the union. And that people of higher integrity should be elected as union leaders.
1.1 Background of the Study
The relationship or the contract between employers and employees ought to be based on the principles of humanism and the respect for the sanctity of human integrity and aspirations. This is because, the employer aims at making sure that the corporate objectives of his firm or organization is realized through the activities and contribution of skills, ideas and expertise by the employees. Thus, Odimegwu .I. (2008:51) stated that, firms and business organization realize their corporate objectives and break even through the professional actions, employees. Employers achieve this thought strict processes of performance appraisal, staff disciplinary measures and effective monitoring.
On the part of the employee, he seek to achieve job satisfaction and high career growth in the employer and employee contract. Job satisfaction is a situation whereby the employee enjoys good condition of service and other benefits due to him by virtue of his performance and commitment towards the realization of the corporate objectives of the firm or organization where he works and also have the prospects of growing higher in his works and also have the prospects of growing higher in his career. According to Umeogu (2000:92), job satisfaction is the level of self-fulfillment and self-actualizing benefits satisfaction and prospects of career growth on employee enjoys in an organization or firm. In any organization where employees are not given the opportunity for job satisfaction, they often resort to collective bargaining and negotiation in order to achieve their goals. Realizing that employees can not achieve the goal of job satisfaction alone, they formed unions and groups or what is called labour unions in order to negotiate and bargain with employers and government agencies to improve the condition of service of employees. This is the beginning of trade unionism in employer and employee relationship.
Trade Union is an organization of workers who have united together to achieve common goals such as protecting the integrity of its trade, achieving higher pay, increasing the number of employees an employer hires, and better working conditions. According to Okoro (2005:61) trade union is an organization whose membership consist of workers and union leaders, united to protect and promote their common interests. Trade unions use such measures as collective bargaining, negotiation, strike actions, demonstration and industrial actions to achieve their goals. The aim of all trade union activities is to improve the condition of service of their members. Notable trade unions in Nigeria include, National Union of Local Government Employees, Nigerian Medical Association, Nigerian Labour Congress, Nigeria Union of Journalists etc. The National Union of Local government Employees is a union that is made up of all the civil servants working at the local government level. The major objective of the union is to engage the government in collective bargaining when the need arises in order to improve the condition of service of their members so as to promote job satisfaction in the service of all.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The activities, programmes, pursuance and the realization of the objectives of most trade unions or labour unions have been affected by lots of factors which pose challenges to their polices and programmes. In most cases, members of some trade union through their actions tend to frustrate the collective goals and objectives of the union. Atimes, leaders of some trade unions sabotage their members by accepting bribe from the government. When this happens most objectives of trade unions will not be realized. For instance, the minimum wage issue failed in most state in Nigeria because of the actions of most leaders of trade unions and labour groups. Secondly, there is the problem of internal crisis and disharmony among members of the same trade union. When selfish interest of members begin to override the common good of the members of the union, there will be crisis, disharmony and coercion and when this happens, the union will lack the unity of strength and solidarity required to fight for their rights. Most of them forget the slagan “united we stand, divided we fall”.
Another problem is that most government have been so strict and high handed that, they frustrate every effort made by trade unions and labour groups to resolve disagreements and conflicts and when this happens most labour groups will resort to the use of violent actions like demonstration and not. In situation like this, the government will begin to brand trade unions as rebellious groups. Because of the corrupt nature of most administrations, most government prefer to bribe leaders of trade unions than proffer solution to the problems of the member. This in most case make one to begin to question the ability of trade unions to help their members enjoy good condition of service and also job satisfaction. Being that, National union of local government employees is a trade union, this research will make attempt to find out whether the union has been able to engage the government in collective bargaining in order to promote job satisfaction for the members, given the many instances of bribery and corruption and other factors that affect employers, employees relationship in the local government system.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is to determine the extent to which National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Abakaliki Local Government Area. as a trade union has effectively engaged the government in collective bargaining in order to promote job satisfaction for the members. Other specific objectives includes
i. To find out the extent to which the leadership of National Union of Local Government Employee in (NULGE) Abakaliki Local Government Area has contributed in promoting job satisfaction for the members.
ii. To determine the extent to which government interference has affected the realization of the goals of National Union of Local Government Employee (NUlGe) in Abakaliki Local Government Area.
iii. To investigate the extent to which National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has helped the members to enjoy good condition of service in Abakaliki Local Government Area.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This research will be significant or beneficial in the following ways:
The research will help the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Abakaliki Local Government Area to adopt the best strategies in relating with the government and also achieving its goals. The research will also make recommendations that will help to improve the activities of other trade unions.
The research will serve as a source of reference for further studies, especially for undergraduate students in public administration and other related disciplines the research will x-ray what scholars have written on trade unionism, collective bargaining and employer and employee relationship. The work will also serve as educating and entertaining material to members of the general public and those in the academic world.
1.5 Theoretical Framework
The research employs the human relations theory of management. The human relations theory is a school of management theory stressing the importance of understanding human motivation in the work place. According to Thompson (2004), the human relations school believes that employee motivation is a result of recognition, encouragement and rewarding of individual contributions. Its advocates were F.J. Roethlisberge, W.E. Moore and E. Mayo in the USA and G. Friedmann in France. Human relations theory developed as a response to Taylorism. Rejecting the biological and mechanistic approaches to F.W. Taylor’s “scientific management”. The Human relations theory prosed the implementation of methods of dealing with workers as socio-psychological beings. Robbins (2005) succinctly explain the human relations theory in his following words.
The theory believes in the human aspect of a business and how to utilize humans as a valuable resource. Without people, your business would not exist, so consider restructuring your organization with a focus on employee relations. Spend time and money to invest in developing employees and see higher productivity and more success within your organization.
Also, Zhao (1997) identified the believes of the human relations theorists to include:
i. Workers are human beings, so they must be treated like human beings and not like machines. Managers should try to understand the feelings and emotions of the workers.
ii. An organization works not only through formal relations but also through informal relations. Therefore, managers should encourage informal relations in the organization along with formal relations.
iii. Workers want good communication from managers. Therefore, managers should communicate effectively with employees without feeling of ego and superiority complex.
This theory is most suitable to the topic of this research because, a stringent application and practice of bureaucratic principles in an organization might be scaring for employees. It might prevent them from bringing out their hidden talents, potentials and expertise which will improve their productivity. Hence, if the management and Director of Enugu State Water Cooperation will adopt the human relations theory of management, employees of the corporation will be motivated to work thereby increasing their productivity and organizational growth.
1.6 Research Question
The following are the research questions of this study:
i. To what extent has National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Abakaliki Local Government Area effectively engaged the government in collective bargaining in order to promote job satisfaction for the members?
ii. To what extent has government interference affected the realization of the goals of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Abakaliki Local Government Area?
iii. How has the leadership of National Union of Local Government Employee (NULGE) Abakaliki Local Government Area contributed in promoting job satisfaction for the members?
1.7 Research Hypotheses
The following form the research hypothesis of this study:
Ho1: National Union of Local Government in collective bargaining in order to promote job satisfaction for the members.
HA1: National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Abakaliki Local Government Area has effectively engaged the government in collective bargaining in order to promote job satisfaction for the members.
Ho2: Government interference has not affected the realization of the goals of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Abakaliki Local Government Area.
HA2: Government Interference has affected the realization of the goals of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Abakaliki Local Government Area.
Ho5: The leadership of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Abakaliki Local Government Area has not contributed in promoting job satisfaction for the member.
HA5: The leadership of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Abakaliki Local Government Area has contributed in promoting job satisfaction for the member.
1.8 Scope of the Study
The research will deal with the analysis of the concept of trade unionism, collective bargaining as a strategy for achieving goals by trade unions, the concept of job satisfaction and the relationship between the government and their employees with specific reference to the activities of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Abakaliki Local Government Area. The work will also examine the extent to which the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Abakaliki Local Government Area has effectively engaged the government in collective bargaining in order to promote job satisfaction for their members.
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