Wage determination and trade union structure and organisation in a developing country: the Nigerian case.

PhD thesis

Chienye, G. 1984. Wage determination and trade union structure and organisation in a developing country: the Nigerian case. PhD thesis Middlesex Polytechnic Faculty of Business Studies and Management
TypePhD thesis
TitleWage determination and trade union structure and organisation in a developing country: the Nigerian case.
AuthorsChienye, G.

The financial and competitive positions of most industries in Nigeria (private and pub1ic) have deteriorated steadily over the last ten years. This decline has been attributed to several factors (such as economic and political issues) but the single factor most frequently blamed for this is the 'detective1 system of wage determination in the country which has been accused of being responsible for widespread dissatisfaction and unprecedented levels of industrial unrest among workers in the country.
This study attempts to examine the various forms or mechanisms of wage determination in the country such as (1) the Collective Bargaining Process, (2) Arbitration by way of wage commissions, (3) the National Minimum Wage, (4) Attempts at Prices and Incomes Policy. A special examination and evaluation of the role of trade unions in wage determination is also being carried out. Further, the impact of wage policy in economic development is being discussed.
The general hypothesis which has been developed for this study is that "In Nigeria, Industries or Companies using the Collective Bargaining Process for the determination of their workers remuneration have a lower strike incidence, lower labour turnover, lower absenteeism rate, and enjoy high productivity". This hypothesis is used to generate other sub-hypotheses such as (a) workers under collective bargaining industries derive more job satisfaction from their jobs; (b) Labour-management relationships are more cordial in industries or companies under collective bargaining arrangements; (c) Union density and worker participation in decision-making are higher in industries under collective bargaining; and (d) middle managers in companies or industries under the collective bargaining arrangements have a greater sense of belonging, achievement and self-actualisation.
The hypotheses were tested using a sample of 1,000 workers of comparable occupations drawn from two companies situated in Apapa and Ikeja, the highly industrial areas of Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. One was Nigeria Airways Ltd., a state-owned organisation where wage determination is by the Centralised or arbitration wage system. The other was Lever Brother (Nig.) Ltd., a private multi-national company using the Collective Bargaining process to determine its workers levels of remuneration. In order to obtain as reliable data as possible the fieldwork which was carried out in Nigeria was done in two phases. In Phase One, all the proposed techniques to be used for obtaining data such as questionnaire structuring, interviewing - structured and unstructured - were pretested to minimise any possible anomalies. The questionnaire was structured in two parts. The first, Part 'A' contained factual questions(age, marital status, academic qua1ifications, work career and social background). While in Part 'B', general opinion and attitude questions were included. Phase Two of the field work involved the main data collection task. Also, during this period, selected managers from both companies were interviewed, together with some Nigeria Employers Consultative Association and Central Trade Union officials, using the unstructured interviewing technique.
The data was processed through the SPSS computer programme. A battery of statistical tests such as factor and item analysis, the Gutman and Likert techniques were used for attitude scale measurements. Correlation coefficient and the ordinary least squares equations were also applied to establish evidence of association.
The fieldwork revealed that, firstly, wage settlement through arbitration is very defective in nature and operation in the workers eyes. Secondly, it revealed that workers in the firm using the collective bargaining process for the determination of their wages were more satisfied with their jobs. The Collective Bargaining firm had a lower strike record, lower labour turnover, lower absenteeism rate and enjoyed higher productivity rates and good labour-management relationship. It had a higher union density and more articulate trade union officials. Finally, it was discernable from the study that managers in Lever Brothers were more satisfied with their pay, jobs and conditions of service and more interested in their workers. What's more, the managers have more sense of achievement, belonging and feelings of self-fulfilment. This was quite unlike the managers in the company under the centralised wage system, who were found to be anomic, have feelings of estrangement, alienation and find their work meaningless. Furthermore, the study will evaluate the role of the sound wage policy in the process of economic development, particularly in agricultural dominated economy such as Nigeria.
Finally, because of the government's apparent deep-seated interest in wage determination issues, coupled with the relatively 'fragile nature' of the Nigerian economy, a tripartite mode1 of the collective bargaining process
(embracing government, employers, and workers representatives) is suggested to illuminate these relations in a developing society.

Department nameFaculty of Business Studies and Management
Institution nameMiddlesex Polytechnic
Publication dates
Print22 Sep 2010
Publication process dates
Deposited22 Sep 2010
CompletedApr 1984
Output statusPublished
Additional information

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the (CNAA) degree of Doctor of Philosophy in General Management.

Permalink -


Download files

  • 32
    total views
  • 83
    total downloads
  • 7
    views this month
  • 5
    downloads this month

Export as