AN APPRAISAL OF THE ROLE OF TRADE UNIONISM UNDER NIGERIAN LAW: A CASE STUDY OF THE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS
The writer was motivated to write on the subject of unionism with reference to the Nigeria Labour Congress owing to criticisms labeled by Nigeria on the role played by the congress. The writer’s desire of changing this negative perspective of the role of unionism became the motivation for the work. Trade unions are not perceived as a potent pressure group interested in championing the rule of law, good governance and enthronement of democratic ideals for the betterment of Nigerians. Activism of the NLC is generally construed in narrow terms confining its agitation to the betterment of only workers. This problems still prevails despite the dynamism of social relations which has necessitated a paradigm shift in the traditional role of the NLC. An objective of this thesis is to educate and enlighten the Nigerian public on the roles of trade unionism towards achieving economic growth, development and in the advancement of political and social rights in Nigeria. The research methodology adopted is basically the doctrinal method of research. This is because it made it easier for the writer to identify the primary and secondary sources of trade union law and have access to available literature covering diverse aspects of the work. The thesis found that the Trade Unions (Amendment) Act 2005 and other legislation have greatly undermined the vibrancy of the Nigeria Labour Congress towards the realization of its mission statement. It is also found that there is no constant flow of vital information from the NLC to the Nigerian
public, this lack of public enlightenment of its activism contributed to the negative perception it has in the eyes of Nigerians. As a matter of urgency the legislature should amend the Trade Unions (Amendment) Act 2005 and other legislation t hat impede on the development of trade unionism. The NLC should embark on massive public enlightenment of its activism so as to educate the public. The NLC provides a basis for the limitation of state power, which is tantamount to the control of the state by the civil society; to supplement the role of the political parties by stimulating politically participation; promote the development of political attributes and creating channels other than political parties for the articulation, aggregation and representation of interest; to monitor state activities, and defend their interest and values. The role of trade unionism as portrayed by the NLC has captured the imagination of the country as the defender of the common man and as a repository of the best values of the Nigerian society. The NLC has given hope to the vast majority of Nigerians who are excluded, marginalized, exploited and oppressed that a better Nigeria is not only possible but realizable. The potency of the NLC in the democratic struggle cannot be undermined. It is significant not only in entrenching democracy, but also its sustainability.