MANAGING INDUSTRIAL DISPUTE IN HIGHER INSTITUTIONS

MANAGING INDUSTRIAL DISPUTE IN HIGHER INSTITUTIONS, A CASE STUDY OF ENUGU STATE UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (ESUT)

Chapter 1

1.1 Background of the Study

In the formation of the national industrial policy, the federal government was influenced by the country’s social and economic conditions and the standard set by the International Labour Organization (ILO) which Nigeria is a member.

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In Nigeria, trade union service and industrial relation department under the federal ministry of labour and productivity are primarily responsible for the promotion and maintenance of industrial peace and harmony in all the trade disputes which (i.e Employers and Employees or union members) have failed to settle through internal machinery designed to reach amicable settlement of disputes. Despite the existence of these two departments (i.e Employees with their unions), industrial crises involving a total of 1,029 trade disputes were handled within the year (1990-2002), resulting in 899 strikes and lockout, only 801 of the disputes were resolved through intervention and conciliation, number of workers involved are 3,090,049 number of disputes days was 809,017 and total day lost    was 3,541,732,628. SOURCE: Labour and productivity office 2005. But in situation where the disputes cannot be settled through intervention and conciliation, the case will be referred to the industrial Arbitration panel (IAP) or the National Industrial Count (NIC).

According to Joy Nonye Ugwu, industrial relation can be defined as the intervening activities of trade union, Employers and the state.

Sola Fajana (2000) defines industrial relation as a discipline that is concerned with the systematic study of all aspect of the employment relationship. It deals with everything that affects the relationship between workers and employers from the time the employee joins the work organization until the time he leaves his job.

Meanwhile, the upsurge in strike and industrial dispute could be blamed on the suspicious issues between the employers and their workers as well as intra union crises in a bid to increase their standard of living, which is often eroded by inflation, higher pay and better working condition of service while the employer resists such request because they fear that it might reduce their profit, and this refusal may result to strike or industrial conflict or dispute.

Conflict is inevitable in every organization starting from the nuclear family to the most complex organization one can think of. In the world of work dispute are inevitable, the reason being that the social partner have opposing interest. But in the public sector, governments resist it because of unavailability of funds and the likely economic consequences.

In recent years, trade dispute especially those of intra and inter union cases arise as a result of communication gap between the official members, alleged misappropriation of funds or embezzlement of union funds arbitrary dismissal of national officers by the union and the refusal to call national delegates conference as at when due.

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is the highest umbrella organization for all the trade union in the country. It was created by the trade union decree of 1978 by which the federal government organized the country is labour force into 42 trade unions. The decree set out how the laws will be, and how to appoint the officers who are qualified for membership and the requirement that each union must file an annual statement of account with the registrar of trade unions in the federal ministry of labour and productivity.

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The industrial relation decree of 1976 sets out the details of how disputes between the employers and employees union, are required to attempt internal settlement through joint consultation and collective bargaining. And where these fails, there is no provision for the declaration of formal trade dispute and for the matter declaration to be referred to the minister of labour and productivity, and where the internal mechanism of conflict resolution will start.

Mediation is the first panel. It is an act of trade dispute mandate employers and union members to meet within seven days after industrial dispute has been made open by either themselves or their agents under the sole chairmanship of a mediator, mutually accepted by two parties. The mediator must be seen to be impartial by the parties and not to impose his decision on any of the parties. Where the mediator fails, the minister of labour and productivity may desire to appoint a third party as a conciliator from other labour experts to resolve the problem. The conciliation shall inquire into the cause and circumstances of the dispute if settlement is reached within fourteen (14) days he shall forward a memorandum of the terms of the settlement duly signed by the parties involve to the minister of labour and productivity. But if they fails, he will reached another fourteen (14) days refer the case to the arbitration.

The Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) marks the beginning of the judicial process for resolving disputes. The panel is given forty-two days to settle the differences and make their submission which must be accepted and binding on the two parties. If consensus is reached within the said forty-two (42) days, the report will have to wait till after 21 days have passed, within which any part can raise objection after the 21 days and no petition were tendered or objection rose, the report is now published and binding on the parties.

In past ten years, the history of industrial relations in the organization of learning is marked by incessant industrial actions. The first was in July 1988 when Academic Staff Union of Nigeria University (ASUU) embarked on a strike action against their employers, the national university commission/ federal ministry of education and their individual universities.

In Enugu state, higher institution of learning have experiences as many periods of industrial unrest. Trade disputes are often declared by the trade union in these institutions. The main ones are the academic staff union of universities (ASUU), senior staff association of universities etc. trade disputes are declared against the institution authorities.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

       Industrial actions occurs not because of the disagreement between the institution’s authority and the trade union members, but as a sympathy action in support of members in another institute or institution who are embarking on industrial action against the authority. In such cases, it becomes difficult to back the striking members to work through consultants in the institutions.

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Solidarity and sympathy strikes are difficult to resolve because the legal procedures of mediation and conciliation have always proved abortive.

Sometimes the stipulation of trade dispute decree of 1976 on the procedure have been routed through the arbitrary use of power by government in forcefully resolving the dispute. This usually keeps both parties over the dispute for a while very often negotiation have been broken down because of the inability of the parities at the dispute to make concessions to each others demand thereby, reaching a compromise. Some others earlier been suspended resumes because of the inability of the institution’s authority to meet with the term of settlement earlier reached or agrees on. It often resolve the issue in dispute.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

       The purpose of this study among other things includes:

  1. To identify the nature of trade dispute in Enugu state university of science and technology (ESUT).
  2. To find out the procedures usually adopted by the parities in the settlement of those disputes in Enugu state university of science and technology (ESUT).
  3. To find out factors responsible for trade dispute in Enugu state university of science and technology (ESUT).
  4. To determined if the procedure are in conformity with the stipulation of the trade decree act of 1976 in resolution of trade dispute.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. 1. What is the nature of trade dispute or industrial conflicts in Enugu state university of science and technology (ESUT)?
  2. 2. What are procedures usually adopted by the parities in conflict, in resolving these conflict?
  3. What are the factors that are responsible for trade dispute in Enugu state university of science and technology (ESUT)?
  4. 4. Are those procedures in conformity with those stipulated in trade dispute decree of 1976 on how to resolve industrial conflict?

1.5 Hypothesis Formulation

       The following hypothesis shall be tested.

HYPOTHESIS 1

HO: The nature of trade dispute in Enugu state university of science and technology (ESUT) cannot be improved by the attitude of leaders of trade unions.

HI: The nature of trade union dispute in Enugu state university of science and technology (ESUT) can be improved by the attitude of leaders of trade union.

HYPOTHESIS II

HO: The appointment of mediator as well as appointment of conciliator is not possible procedures adopted in settlement of industrial dispute.

HI: The appointment of mediator as well as appointment of conciliator is possible procedures adopted in settlement of industrial dispute.

HYPOTHESIS III

HO: The breach of terms dispute by government are not the factors responsible for industrial dispute.

HI: The breach of terms dispute by government are the factors responsible for industrial dispute.

HYPOTHESIS IV

HO: The procedures of resolving industrial dispute in Enugu state university of science and technology (ESUT) are not in conformity with the stipulated in trade dispute decree act of 1976.

HI: The procedures of resolving industrial dispute in Enugu state university of science and technology (ESUT) are in conformity with those stipulated in trade dispute decree act of 1976.

1.6 Significance of the Study

       The research is very important in many respects.

  1. It will explain the nature of industrial dispute in institution of higher learning.
  2. It will also highlight the various factors that often lead to such industrial conflicts, why there has always been break down in negotiations and industrial conflict management continues to be difficult.
  3. The research findings will be useful to the institution authority because it will forestall the emergences of a situation that will help them on how to approve industrial conflict with a view to settle them amicably.
  4. It will make employees union representatives and employees union to understand the importance of industrial peace as in the development of health, industrial relations and rational development.
  5. It will be useful to any student who will be carrying out a related study in the future as the information provided will be helpful.
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1.7 Scope/ Delimitation of the Study

       The managing of industrial dispute in higher institution is a very wide study if it has to be carried out in all the higher institutions in Nigeria, but the study covers Enugu state, using university of science and technology (ESUT) as a case study. This study specially appraises the cause and effects in industrial conflicts in Enugu state university of science and technology (ESUT).

1.8 Definition of Terms

  1. Conciliator- A person appointed by the honourable ministers of labour and productivity to settle the industrial dispute if a mediator fails.
  2. Conciliation- The process of settlement under the auspices of a conciliator.
  3. Industrial dispute– A situation of disharmony in industrial relation between employers and employees.
  4. Industrial relation- Relationship between employers and employees in an organization.
  5. Industrial Arbitration Panel- A body established to settle industrial dispute and to give a binding decision on both parities.
  6. National industrial court- An adjudicating institution established to examine the ruling of the industrial arbitration panel (IAP) and to give the final decision.
  7. Nigeria labour congress- The umbrella organization for all trade union in the country.
  8. Mediator- The first person usually agreed upon by parties in the dispute to settle the conflict.
  9. Mediation- The process of settlement using a mediator.

————- this is an incomplete article ———– it’s a product of a high quality project researched work.

Project topic: MANAGING INDUSTRIAL DISPUTE IN HIGHER INSTITUTIONS, A CASE STUDY OF ENUGU STATE UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (ESUT)

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