Historical and Philosophical Devept of Labour Relations in Nigeria

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DATE:4th MARCH, 2010.

Historical and Philosophical development of Labour Relations within the Past two decades in Nigeria ANSWER:
During the military regime, Nigeria witnessed series of labour unrests and agitation which led to some amendments of labour Acts and introduction of new laws. The period under review; (1990 to 2010) witnessed partial transfer of power from the military elite to civil rule for a while (Ibrahim Babangida to Ernest Shonekan); election and cancellation of June, 12 election, dictatorial style of Abacha and full transfer of power to civil rule in 1999 by Abdulasalami : so for the first time in Nigeria the country has witnessed ten (10) years of uninterrupted democracy and legislation by elected men and women. Obi (1995; 50) notes “The circumstances of Nigeria society are contained in its politico-economic history”…. So to have a full grasp of the historical and philosophical development of labour relations, we shall streamline our discussion within the period. We shall also attempt to apply Karl Marx’s theory of conflict and contradiction. Theory of conflict and contradiction by Karl Marx

For Marx the ultimate contradiction within capitalism exist in the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. According to him the bourgeoisie produces the proletariat by so doing they are producing their own grave diggers. (George, 2000) As capitalism expands the number of exploited workers and the degree of exploitation increases, chances are for the level of exploitation to escalate which will lead to more and more resistance on the part of the proletariat. What is of importance here is that the conflict is produced by the bourgeoisie’s unwillingness to allow the proletariats access to the surplus (profit) of the work of their hands. In this presentation Karl Marx’s theory of conflict is used to explain the historical and philosophical development of labour Relations in Nigeria from 1990 – 2010. 1.Labour Relations from 1990 – 2010

Between 1990 and 2010 a lot of issues were raised, discussed and amended as it concerns the Labour Act. The early 90’s witnessed the rise in labour agitation not just for good pay or condition of service but for transfer of power from the military to civil rule. With the indiscriminate spending of money by the ruling elites labour groups and organizations began to ask for pay rise, improved condition of service, and harmonized salary scale among others. In the heart of this agitation were trade unions such as Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and it non academic counterpart, Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Trade Union Congress (TUC) amongst others. The actions of these industrial organizations range from outright strikes, public protests/demonstration, boycott etc. Government soon discovered that its use of threat and intimidation was producing more labour unrest; hence the need for the introduction of the National Minimum Act, 2000. The Act came into effect on May 1st 2000, to amend the laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 No. 48. Section 1 of the principal Act is amended:-

1) As from the commencement of this Act, it shall be the duty of every employer/except as provided for under this Act) to pay a wage not less than National Minimum wage at N5,500.00 per month to every worker under his establishment. It is important to note that this land mark achievement for labour was achieved during the civilian rule of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Closely related to the National Minimum wage act is the Workmens compensation Act of 1990. The Act seeks to provide for the compensation of the worker or his family in the event of injury, disability or death in the course of duty. Section 3(1) subject to subsection (2) of this section, if in an employment personal injury...
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