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The Roles of Labour Union in Nigeria Industrial Harmony and Development

Obiekwe, Onyebuchi


Obibhunun, Lucky

Obiekwe, Onyebuchi 1 ,

Obibhunun, Lucky 1 
  1. Department of Management Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria 1

Pages: 10-20

DOI: 10.18488/journal.26.2019.81.10.20

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Article History:

Received: 15 November, 2018
Revised: 31 December, 2018
Accepted: 04 February, 2019
Published: 08 March, 2019


This paper examined the roles of labour union in Nigeria industrial harmony and development. It notes that strong and united labour unions are pre-requisites to industrial and national development of any nation. Some objectives of trade unions such as negotiation, representative body, maintenance of employee-employer relationship, and promotion of member’s welfares were noted and discussed. The paper also observed that workers join union because of job security, need for adequate wages and benefits, power in group for collective bargaining and need to associate with others. Some challenges facing labour unions in Nigeria such as disunity, financial weakness, weak collective bargaining process and dishonest attitude of trade union leaders were identified. The paper concluded that disunity and politicization of trade union are major obstacles for the development of strong and stable trade unions which is an integral part of cordial industrial relations. In addition, a strong and enlightened labour union is vital for good industrial relations system and help to promote the interest of labour union. It is recommended, among others, that unions should identify current trend in industrial relations and educate their members to anticipate for the changes brought about by environmental forces affecting industries. Trade unions should create a level playing ground for all members to take part in the decision making machinery of their unions. Union members should ensure that only qualified, tested and trusted leaders who are truly workers should be voted into offices both at the local, state and national level. In addition, union leaders should be properly trained and educated to know the basic labour and industrial laws of the country in order to plan their actions within the provisions of the laws. Trade unions should also provide for the adequate training of their members in order to give room for advancement of their members.
Contribution/ Originality
This study contributed new knowledge to existing management literature. It examined the roles, objective and challenges of labour union in Nigeria. The primary contribution is finding that a united and proactive labour union is vital in maintaining a progressive and harmonious management-worker relationship which drives industrial harmony and development.


Trade union, Worker’s unity, Industrial harmony, Collective bargaining, Employee well-being, Improved productivity.



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This study received no specific financial support.

Competing Interests:

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Both authors contributed equally to the conception and design of the study

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