THE IMPACT OF STRIKE ACTION ON THE ACHIEVEMENT OF TRADE UNION OBJECTIVE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

 

Strike action also called labour strike or industrial action is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employee(s) to work. A strike usually takes place in respond to employee grievances. Strike became important during the Industrial Revolution, when mass labour became important in factories and mines. In most countries, they were quietly made illegal, as factory owners had far more political power than workers. Most western countries partially legalize striking in the late 19th or early 20th centuries.

Strikes are sometimes used to put pressure on government to change polices. Occasionally, strike destabilizes the rule of a particular political party or ruler. In such cases, strikes are often part of a broader social movement taking the form of a campaign of civil resistance. A notable example is the stoppage of work by the indigenous railways workers in (1932) led by Pa Michael Imodu during the colonial era and the first general strike of (1945) in Nigeria.

Since 1970 to present time, workers demand for improved condition of work and wages have increased the number of strike actions as management most times would not accurately satisfy the needs and requests of employees even in the face of economic recession.

In this study, however, we are going to examine the causes of strike, i.e. consequences and impact in the achievement of trade union objectives.

Strikes are the most significant aspect of industrial conflict. Strike is defined as the temporary stoppage of work in the pursuance of grievance or demand. In practice however, it has been difficult to separate strike from other forms of expression of industrial dispute as employer lock out workers and workers themselves embark on strike action.

It is more useful to view both phenomena as part and parcel of the conflict situation, not as opposite. Rarely does a strike occur over a single issue for an obvious cause may be linked with several other issues that not immediately apparent to the observation that have caused dissatisfaction because solutions to them have been long in coming. The actual occurrence of strike depends on several factors including prevailing circumstances. This also goes to show that few strikes occur spontaneously especially as there is no way of guaranteeing that strike actions instead of the other forms of industrial action would be decided upon by workers involved.

Each time strike occurs substantial man-hour is lost, a good example is the first general strike of (1945), the (1993) ASU strike where universities in the country was closed for couple of months thereby causing set back in the tertiary institution.

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, the two major umbrella bodies of workers union in Nigeria mobilized workers for an indefinite strike action which commenced on Monday, 9th January, 2012 to drive home the protest against the fuel subsidy removal of January 1st 2012. The government of Nigeria removed fuel subsidy by increasing the price of petrol per litre from N65 to N141 on January 1st 2012.

This nationwide strike affected the country‟s economy negatively where the volume of trading on the floor of the Nigeria Stock Exchange,( NSE) fell by 82 percent, local flights were grounded, and lifting of crude oil was hampered. The strike had a lot of effect on the major sector of the economy as activities of the (NSE) that are trading slumped by 80%, while banks complied with the strike order and closed shop, the NSE opened for business as usual. But at close of trading, only 46.06 million shares were traded in 20 deals.

This is a significant reduction when compared with an average 262 million shares worth about N1.05 billion traded in 2,509 deals the previous week. The Nigeria Labour Congress,(NLC) has led a number of general strikes in the past to mention a few. In 2004, the Nigeria Labour Congress gave the Federal government an ultimatum to reverse the decision to introduce the controversial fuel tax or force a nation wide protest strike. The strike threat was made despite the fact that the Federal High Court judgment in an earlier dispute had declared the organization lacking legal power to call a general strike over government policies.

It is in this context that the research wishes to access the impact of strike action on the achievement of trade union objectives in both private and public sectors in Nigeria and how management policies/decisions are influenced by workers through the representatives (trade union) to the effect of harmonizing management polices with trade union objectives enhancing efficiency as well as maintain good industrial relation peace and harmony in the work place using…

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The unstable industrial relation climate in Nigeria just within the decades has resulted in all time record of lost working hours, unprecedented work stoppage as a result of strike action.

By October 1981,both federal and state government were broke, by December, seven out of the nineteen state governments could hardly pay the salaries of their employees; by June 1982,Bendel,Rivers,Cross Rivers, Benue and Imo States were owing teachers two to four months arrears. It was only when junior workers threatened strike action in Cross River State and teachers actually abandoned classes in Bendel State after not receiving January salaries as at April 1982 that both government cleared part of the outstanding amount .

In the first six months of the year 1982, Nigeria lost a total of 4,598 man- hours because of strike action by workers. The recent strike action embarked by Nigeria Labour Congress in January, 2012 has cost the country millions of naira as all the sectors of the economy which engage in productivity activities in order to boost the gross domestic product of the economy were closed down for couples of days.

1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY

The purpose of this study is to probe into the effectiveness of strike action as a means of achieving union objectives from the management. This study is based on a case study of EMENITE LIMITED ENUGU

Precisely, the study is focused on following issues, tools for achieving union demands from management using strike as the major tools in achieving union objectives.

The recommendation which will be based mainly on the findings of the research will be implemented to strengthen the effectiveness of strike action as means of achieving union objectives. If on the other hand, the study suggest a better way of achieving union aims than strike, then of course the mentored will be recommended.

1.4 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The research work focuses particularly on the impact of strike on the achievement of trade union in an organization. The research is conducted to cover and improve the management of organization focusing on the company EMINITE LIMITED, ENUGU. For this reason therefore, the researcher has consulted several reviews, on issues of strike and trade union to include text books industrial relation, management, social sciences, dissertations from academicians on related issues, Newspaper edits journal etc. the work would be very large if all the argument of the different authors are presented, but they have been carefully selected so that only issues particularly concentrating on the impact of strikes on the achievement of trade objectives are considered.

1.5 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

A work of this nature is not easy to accomplish for its wide scope and for the expense it would involve such as financial problems, time constraint, material cost,

apathy on the part of respondent and bureaucratic procedure involved in releasing data in the organization of my case study. The research would have been more expensive and capital intensive if it were to cover all the public sectors corporation in the country, thus the research area is limited to…

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