Labour Unionism


Unionisation is one reaction of workers to employers' actions (Fajana 1995). Workers of different interests and needs come together in a trade union to negotiate the price of labour. The employers may see this as creating a monopoly. Individual workers lack power, however, and may not be able to seek improvement in wages and other working conditions. This is the logic of trade unionism (Fashoyin 1988). Trade unions are the main power resource of the work force. This power can promote the resolution of problems faced by the workers in an organisation. Labour Unionism

The union as a pressure group and its action or inaction may result in conflict with the employer. Conflict in the workplace cannot be ruled out, even with the existence of a trade union. The benefits of organised labour are often sought by those in non-union workplaces. Many of the wage increases in Nigeria and the allowances and bonuses are products of union activities. The union serves as a platform for social interaction among members by organising seminars, lectures, conferences, and symposia. The union members learn and develop educationally and also provide services like funerals for deceased members (Fashoyin 1981).Labour Unionism

The Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Education Institutions

The Non-Academic Union of Allied and Education Institutions (NASU) is the association that represents the junior non-teaching staff in Nigerian universities. The union came into existence in 1977 as one of the house unions, and in 1978 it was strengthened by decree No. 22 (Davison 1977). It was formally recognised as one of the 42 registered unions affiliated to Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). The principal objectives of the union are the regulation of relations between workers and the Governing Councils of the university.Labour Unionism

The Governing Councils and workers or their union work toward eliminating exploitation in the workplace, as well as providing benefits to members. In the history of NASU, the union has fought a number of battles that have contributed to the welfare of their members. Osang (2002) says that in December 1992, when Prof Babatunde Fafunwa was Education Minister, the federal government approved a separate University salary table that favoured members of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), when NASU heard of the disparity in the salary table, they embarked on a 42-day nationwide strike to demonstrate their disapproval of the action of the federal government, favoured the academic staff over the non-teaching staff, who are a majority of the workforce. Osang states further that in 1999, NASU presented a memorandum to the federal government to press home their demand for improved terms and conditions of services that will correct the problem created by the National Minimum Wages of General Abubakar on Elongated University Salary Scale (EUSS) in favour of the civil service salary table. The EUSS was restyled as the Harmonised Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure (HATISS).

When President Olusegun Obasanjo assumed the mantle of leadership in Nigeria, the minimum wage was negotiated with the trade unions under the umbrella of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). Individual workers are in a weak bargaining position with their employers when negotiating issue that affect them, but the union played dominant role of strengthening the position of workers in relation to employers The unions at the university negotiate for the welfare of their members and serve as a platform for social interaction and education among members, by organising seminars, lectures, conference, and workshops.

In addition, unions operate special loan plans to assist members in getting financial aid for emergency domestic needs Moreover, NASU has also improved working conditions and raised the dignity of members through schemes such as the welfare system that the union operates by deducting a percentage from members' salaries. The scheme assists members after retirement before. Some unions operate cooperative shops where essential commodities are sold at regulated prices. Some operate thrifts and credit societies where members can obtain loans with minimal interest and a convenient means of repaying.Labour Unionism