One of the major impediments to development in Nigeria is labour unrest. This is given the fact that no Nation can develop without human resource because they constitute and play very significant role in Nation building and development. The Nigerian case has been so pervasive that labour unrest extends to every situation when the Government takes major public policy decision that seems to affect the labour union and generally the masses without due consultation of labour statement; especially that which affects the social life of their member and welfare packages of the entire masses, specifically that which affect the socio-economic and political aspects, hence Nigerian development remain dependent.


Thus in our attempt to analyze and investigate this problem, we use the relative deprivation theory for theoretical framework while documentary research method was also used for gathering and analyzing data.


This research work, labour unrest and underdevelopment in Nigeria: An appraisal from 2000 – 2013 is being carried out for the purpose of assessing various means of curbing labour unrest. This study is however divided into five chapters, chapter one deals with the background of study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, significance of the study, hypotheses, method of data collection and analysis, scope and limitation of the study and definition of terms. Chapter two contains the public policies and labour unrest in Nigeria. In chapter three, we looked at labour unrest and underdevelopment. Chapter four of this work dealt with the strategies for curbing labour unrest in Nigeria.


Finally, chapter five which is the last chapter efforts shifted to the summary, conclusion, recommendation and bibliography. However this work is very incisive, interesting and educating.





Table of Contents  
Title Page————————————————- i
Approval Page —————————————— ii
Dedication—————————————— iii
Acknowledgment ————————————- iv-vi
Abstract ———————————————– vii-ix
Table of Contents————————————- x-xi
Chapter One: Introduction  
1.1 Background of the Study———————- 1-5
1.2 Statement of the Problem———————- 5-7
1.3 Objectives of the Study ————————— 7
1.4 Literature Review——————————- 8-15
1.5 Significance of the Study——————— 15-16
1.6 Theoretical Framework ———————– 16-20
1.7 Hypotheses —————————————– 21
1.8 Methods of Data Collection——————- 21-22
1.9 Scope and Limitation of the Study ———- 22-23
1.10 Operationalization of Concept————— 23-26




Chapter Two: Public Policy and Labour Unrest in Nigeria


2.1 Economic Reforms and Retrenchment


of Workers ————————————– 27-38





2.2 Non-Sustainable      Minimum      Wage       and       Welfare




2.3 Arbitrary Reduction of Fuel Subsidy and Increase in


Fuel Prices—————————————– 57-68


Chapter Three: Labour Unrest and Underdevelopment in




3.1 Labour Unrest and Loss of Revenue ———— 69-79
3.2 Labour Unrest and Loss of Investment ——— 79-88
3.3 The Disruption of Socio-Political    
Development —————————————- 88-93  




Chapter Four: Strategy for Curbing Labour Unrest in Nigeria


4.1 The Decentralization of Labour Unions ——– 94-97
4.2 The Coercive Strategy —————————   98-100
4.3 The Dialogue Option—————————-   100-107
Chapter Five: Summary, Conclusion and
5.1 Summary —————————————   108-110
5.2 Conclusion ————————————-   111-113
5.3 Recommendation—————————— 113-115
Bibliography———————————–   116-119  





Chapter One: Introduction


  • Background of the Study


The organized labour union movements in Nigeria dates back to 1912, Nigeria workers like their counterparts in other developing countries have witnessed fundamental changes in their condition over time. To a large extent, labour unions have played significant roles in the transformation of most developing countries.


Government is the largest employer of labour with private individual employing a minimal proportion of the working class (Fajara, 2000). In Nigeria, labour unions has become a very important agents of socio-economic transformation and class struggle (Aremu, 1996, Akinyanju, 1997) which began from the colonial struggle and continued till in the post independence era. In the later, labour unions played significant role in the struggle against dictatorial military rule in the country. In the same vein under the current civilian dispensation, labour





unions is at the forefront of the struggle against unpopular government policies such as deregulation of the oil sector, retrenchment of workers and refusal to honor agreement on wage increase.


Nigeria is a third world country that comprise of labour unions spread across the country. The unions are structured into industrial line and as at 1977 precisely 42 labour unions were recognized by the Government and allowed to contribute enormously to the development of economic, social, cultural and even political system of the state. The role of these labour unions is usually regarded as people oriented because it tends to oppose Governmental policies and decisions not favorable to the masses through strike actions, protest etc popularly called labour unrest.


However, in a multi ethnic democratic country like Nigeria, there exist different labour unions across the country. But for the purpose of this study, we shall dwell





more on those labour unions that have in one way or the other succeeded in influencing Governmental policies and decision. In the past such as: National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAU) Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ).


In 1978 however, it’s important to note that Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) was formed and inaugurated and the 42 industrial unions became affiliates of the Nigerian Labour Congress with a legal backing of the trade union amendment Decree 22 of 1978. Again in 1989 the trade union was restructured to become 29 affiliates unions to the Nigerian Labour Congress after their role against the anti-people Structural Adjustment programme of General Babangida.





Consequently, in 2005, the trade union act section 33 (2) was amended by substituting the phrase “central labour organization” for the phrase “federation of trade unions” the intention was to weaken the cohesion of the trade unions.


Since time immemorial labour unrest has always occupied the front burner of criticisms and oppositions. in Nigeria whenever the Government through its policies makes life unbearable for its citizens.


Nevertheless most activities of the organized labour in the form of unrest to attack Government policies and programmes often result in underdevelopment and grounding of the economy culminating in loss of revenues and sundry economic activities. However, it is not implausible to aver that one of the greatest problems that result to labour unrest and consequently underdevelopment is Governmental policies and





programmes on certain National issues especially those that affect the labour unions across the Nation.


In the light of these, this research work is inspired out of the burning desire to interrogate the motive of the labour union in their activities through protest, strikes etc against certain Governmental policies and programmes through a critical analysis and alternative roadmap to labour unrest with a view to averting resultant and decay in Nigeria.




1.2 Statement of the Problem


Labour unrest remain one of the most glaring problems hindering the development of this great nation especially when Government tends to implement policies and programmes not favorably for the majority of the people in the society (country). This is because the labour unions, using the NLC (Nigeria Labour Congress) ad TUC (Trade Union Congress) as the umbrella bodies tends to





constitute parts of organization or union that keeps the country going through their daily activities. In order words, when there is labour unrest, the economy of the country tends to be disrupted and destabilized which is why whenever Government policies and programmes that are not favorable to labour are formulated, there is usually a mass protest and strikes that dislocates the economy as the civil servants who are very significant to the Government of the day also partake in the strike and protest by not going to work.


However, the study shall make a critical appraisal of some of the major cases (protest and strikes) by labour unions and also investigate their modus operandi, so as to River at the objectives of the study, in the quest of doing this, the following research question would serve as



  1. Are public policies responsible for labour unrest in Nigeria?





  1. Is underdevelopment a consequent of labour unrest in Nigeria?


  • Can dialogue and collective bargaining curb labour unrest in Nigeria?




  • Objectives of the Study


The broad objective of the study is to assess the consequences of labour unrest on Nigeria’s development.


Thus the specific objectives of the study are:


  • To ascertain if public policies are responsible for labour unrest in Nigeria.


  • To determine if underdevelopment is a consequence of labour unrest in Nigeria.


  • To discover if dialogue and collective bargaining can curb labour union in Nigeria