Table of Contents
- 1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS
- 2 THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS
- 3 THE FEATURES OF THE ORGANISED LABOUR MOVEMENT (NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS)
- 4 THE IMPORTANCE OF ORGANISED LABOUR
- 5 THE OPERATION OF ORGANISED LABOUR MOVEMENT IN POST-COLONIAL ERA
- 6 PROBLEMS AND LIMITATIONS OF ORGANISED LABOUR MOVEMENTS IN NIGERIA
- 7 THE EMERGENCE OF A CENTRAL LABOUR UNION IN NIGERIA
- 8 THE OPERATION OF ORGANISED LABOUR MOVEMENT
- 9 REFERENCES:
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) is a federation of autonomous industrial unions with recognized powers to bargain with the government on behalf of the Nigerian workers, masses and other unions. It helps influence the polity of the nation for the betterment of economic, political, social and the overall well being of the unionist and the masses at large. (Sokunbi, et al 1996:19).
The history of Nigeria Labour Congress from the genesis of the labour movement in Nigeria has its roots in the age-long desire of people, groups and individuals, who live, work and play together, acting collectively to asserting their identity, protecting and promoting their interest as part of natural instincts. Some scholars have interpreted the emergence of a labour movement in Africa as an anthropological phenomenon.
To Okoli (1987), it is a response to stimulants such as tribal association; industrial conflicts and political campaigns foreign labour movements and labour administration. There is another view that growth of labour movement is a challenge to traditional institutions in the light of membership of age, kin, clan and craft groups having loyalty to the village or the tribal chief. Another point is that traditional social systems and its organisation constitute the framework in which the labour movement germinated in the midst of a welter of ‘improvement’ or ‘progressive’ unions which includes tribal clans, community, villages, and family organisations.
Similarly, the report of the Nigerian Movement Commission of Enquiry into the Enugu Collier strike and disorder in 1949 asserted that the labour movement in Nigeria was not a native growth; it was deliberately planted on the people by the colonialist British administration as part of the international industrial system. Whatever standpoint one may take as the origin or the genesis of the Nigeria Labour Congress, the fact remains the emergence, operation and significance of the movement in Nigeria politics cannot be denied. Its root, emergence and roles have been a basic necessity in all developing economies in the world (Tokunbi, 1985:14).
Furthermore, some scholars have identified and shown that the history of the labour movement can be divided into three phases: with the first covering the period of its formation 1839-1945; the second phase spanned from 1945 to 1966, the third phase usually referred to as the period of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) phase when it was promulgated into law with the decree 34 of 1978 (Skunbi, et al 1996:46).
According to Fashoyin (1992), the Nigeria Labour Congress is the apex organisation in the labour movement in Nigeria with the 1978 military that established and harmonized other trade unions and the interest groups under one umbrella known since then as the Nigeria Labour Congress, recognized by the government to initiate, bargain and represent other groups of workers and general masses interest in the nation.
The trade union act of the federal government of Nigeria provides that:-
Upon the commencement of the Act, the NLC shall be the only central labour organization with the power as specified in section 34 to oversee the welfare, promote and protect the interest of the workers and masses. Therefore, it shall be an offence for any trade union not specified in this agreement in part of the schedule to affiliate with any central labour organisation implying that it is unlawful to have any other central organised labour movement other than the Nigeria Labour Congress. http://socialistnigeria.org/page7.php
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS
The importance of the establishment NLC can be viewed from two perspectives. The historical background of the Nigeria Labour Congress and from its relevance to the struggle for good and improved conditions for the masses, from the mid-1980s the Nigeria Labour Congress became the linchpin of the growing internal opposition to government austerity policies demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the debt crisis.
The historical perspective can be hinged on the various episodes of workers struggles against the employers recorded in the historical background of the NLC which includes: the consciousness of the historical national importance of labour movement, the movement that has never succumbed to any frontier, in spite of the various difficulties and problems faced by the various from the state trying to frustrate their effort at achieving their aims, the consciousness by the leaders and members of the various trade union that can face the challenge of capital, so no individual union can successfully challenge policy represented by the government which implies that non-realization of the aims but with a more radical, verile, and vibrant central body of collective effort will make it easier for the aims to be achieved which NLC has done and are still doing (Sokunbi; 1996:5).
From the second perspective, the NLC is seen in the light of providing a single, organized, purposeful, virile, coordinated strong and united front for the formation, presentation, agitation and accomplishment of demands and goals of the labour movement for workers to fight aggression, exploitation to drive home their demands. It can equally be seen in the fact that the state and even the military regime for the matter are still able to appreciate its importance despite efforts to thwart the growth of organized labour unions in Nigeria. More importantly, it’s significance will be appreciated more when viewed from the condition of the environment of its operation. These environments can be conducive or coercive viewed majorly from two perspectives or ideological angles of the liberal democratic, authoritarian or socialist environment (Olaniyi, 1998; 95-96).
In a democratic system, the system that enhances the entrenchment of fundamental human rights to citizens of a country where it operates; it provides a conducive environment for the operation of unionism. This account for the existence and nourishing of organized labour movements in countries such as United States of America, Britain, France and elsewhere where the democratic practice is strong (Olaniyi; 1998:95). Its relevance can be seen in the fact that it still contributes to the protection of labour rights; it contributes to the protection of labour rights; it contributes to national development through its public education activities especially during rallies, seminars, campaigns and symposiums. It equally serves as a link between government and the public, between workers it represents and the employers of labour by supplying and collection of useful information to ends. NLC has acted and still acts as effective curb and check on governments.
Madisonn, however, points that democracy will be weak without interest groups and their activities (Schick, et al 1975:119). Perhaps there may be some regulatory legislation to check organised labour movement’s excesses. This is informed by the appreciation of the fact that the activities if left totally unchecked may impede the smooth running of government and even bring out corruption with their lobbying activities. They have the roles or importance of the Nigeria Labour Congress in the recent time, with the deregulation. Thus, the government had in turn; viewed the activities of NLC to be inimical to national development.
While pressure groups and any other civil society organisations like the labour movements, trade unions and unionism in general in an authoritarian environment are usually curbed with a great deal of legislation or laws that often prohibit them from doing certain things, they are more often than not; denied the opportunity of reaching policymakers, talk less of influencing them and their promotion of certain interests in the society. This is because they believe that the free flow of ideas will open the eyes of the oppressed and the victims of the state policies and that would normally end up with the agitation from the oppressed group. A repressive military regime can be seen under Abacha’s military regime and in the administration of the president Olusegun Obasanjo first tenure in office from 1999-2003, when the activities of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and NLC campaigned for democratic norms was gagged (Cyril et al 1999:14).
The Nigeria Labour Congress equally serves as an instrument of change and instability by sponsoring a group to overthrow a regime, picking holes in major legislation or policy of the government and press for the review, organize strike, demonstration, protest and work to roll out actions, lockout and boycott to press on their demands. They also organize demonstrations which could be peaceful or violent in nature to oppose draconian policies of government (Okoye, M. 1981:16).
THE FEATURES OF THE ORGANISED LABOUR MOVEMENT (NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS)
The Nigeria Labour Congress has been a collection or conglomeration of groups of people and trade union person with peculiar features. Realistically speaking of every other groups and concept in the contemporary world, their activities are manifold.
Demonstration or industrial action of protest picketing had been opened to organised groups in the past towards actualizing their set aims and objectives. Thus, the Nigeria Labour Congress is often pre-disposed to strike action as a result of the insensitivity or unresponsiveness of the government of the country, especially since 1999 civilian rule under the government of Olusegun Obasanjo government which has introduced the policy of privatization, deregulation of the key industries in the economy, so much preached deregulation of the oil sector as the wand magic towards industrialization and national development.
Secondly, the NLC also used to lobby, dialogue and negotiation to driven home their demands. This is always viewed as the first step in resolving any disagreement on any developmental policies and in politics in general. It is only when the options failed to yield the desired result that NLC will be left with no other option than to result into other actions such as demonstration, informs of industrial action, pprotestsmuch, more importantly, strike pickets, and boycotting of major governmental policies such as the payment of tax and others.
The NLC also has the capacity to influence major governmental legislation that is dangerous to the people. This is prompted by the belief that policies generally affect or have general effects on the entire citizenry, the political system and even the image of the country towards others, the NLC does not seek to win control over the government or to elect its members to political office and conduct no election but can form a party and stand for election through the party that had been formed. (Schick 1975:119).
THE IMPORTANCE OF ORGANISED LABOUR
The importance and the essentiality of the trade union or organized labour movement has made scholars to affirm that, it would be inconvincible to envisage a proper civil rule or attainment of industrial democracy in the absence of strong Unionism (Pool, 1981) Ball and Millard (1986:33) defined unionism as a social aggregate of people with some level of cohesion and shared aims with an attempt to influence the political decision-making process in a country. In this definition, the author gave a vivid and correct picture of the concept of unionism by embracing all its characteristics, operations and elements in such a way that it also embraces it in the layman term (Ball and Millard 1986:33).
A trade union or organized labour movements are any collections of people of the same profession who decide to join their course, to influence public policy in order to promote their common interest. The focal point in this definition is that it stresses the belief that any group or organisation whether professional or otherwise, that seeks the interest and wellbeing of the working class, can be regarded as a trade union (Schick et al 1975:119). In the same vein, Chubb (1974:47) sees organised labour movement as the organisation of workers, which have among its functions, to press the claims of their members upon those who can make or can influence the making of policies, laws and decision of the state. Perhaps, this definition was prompted by the appreciation of the fact that other institutions spoke person’s and leaders in the society can in the light, articulate an aggregate interest when necessary and not only by organisation created specifically for the purpose. Such institutions include church union and civil societies, normally Non-Governmental Organisations (N.G.O) for the improvement in the public services such as the provision of water, transportation, houses, and healthy economic condition. Organised groups or trade unions have noted to exerting influence or pressure on the relevant decision makers with the objective of obtaining some benefit. In this case, one should be able to conclude that for the organized labour movement to be able to achieve its beneficial aims and objectives, it needs to mount pressure on the body from which such benefit can be derived.
To Robert and Edwards (1991:66), Unionism is seen as an organised group which has a principal purpose of exercising influence on the politics of any nation, in order to secure decisions favourable to the interest of the group its represent or out to discourage any decision taken by the government that would be favourable to its members. This definition reveals certain future of an organised group or union to pursue a selfish interest in the benefits of its members only. As in the case with trade union congress, Petroleum and Natural Staff Workers Gas Workers (PENGASSAN), National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) sometimes do without carrying other union or group along. Trade unionist do wield a restricted, fragmented and sometimes a negative power over demands they are unable to coordinate. This could later lead to violence and chaos in the state.
In another sense, organised group or unionism has been defined by Okunloye as a shared attitude of an organised group of individuals that make certain claims and demands upon other groups in the society by acting through institutions of government. For example, the Nigeria Marketing Board is a statutory institution handling the nation’s major agricultural products and the raw materials needed. That is an organised group of individuals that subscribed to a set of common objectives around which they want to articulate their group interest. (Okunloye 1990:48).
It is necessary to state here that the numbers of trade unions that operate presently in the country are many but they are with different forms and characters. This depends on the numbers of people that had developed a concerned interest, its size could be large or small, while some are well organised and very viable, others are loose. Some are most concerned about the political activities, some are purely economically inclined. Those with political concern are somehow national in character and have nationwide based. Others operate only in a small locality; such social organisations or organised groups are only out to guarantee that any given distribution of purchasing power is in accord with the standards of substantive rationality (Ball and Millard 1986:31).
One common thing about the definitions given is that most see unionism or organised labour as solely concerned with group interest of others that do not belong to the group. Thus, giving most unions or organized labour movement a selfish and narrow scope of operation. None of the definitions seems to be concerned about the lights of a large number of the unemployed people, therefore; this is a major weakness in the literature. This is so because even the Nigeria Labour Congress, a conglomeration of all labour movement in the country is majorly concentrated about the worker’s condition in its entire struggle.
THE OPERATION OF ORGANISED LABOUR MOVEMENT IN POST-COLONIAL ERA
The contemporary pro-democracy movement in Nigeria has its root in early pre-colonial days. As in independence loomed on the horizon in Nigeria a barrage of religious, peasant, communal, student, women and labour groups permeated Nigeria civil space. This explosion of union activities was further galvanized because of the repressive post-independence military rulers, as well as the feeling of non-reprisals from the colonial regime and other regional events that stirred citizens into democratic action. Some of Nigeria most prominent non-governmental organisations like the Nigeria Union of teachers, the Nigeria Bar Association, the Nigeria Society of Engineers, the Nigeria Medical Association and the pharmaceutical society of Nigeria were all founded before independence and were patterned after similar European civil society actors. And after independence, the new professional association became deeply entrenched in the country with a non-Governmental organization such as the Nigeria Union of Journalist, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the academy staff of universities. However, trade union organisations like the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Nigeria Bar Association became the most active of pro-democracy organisations. Membership in a professional association was largely a status, symbol of admission into-class oriented brotherhood (Lucas, 1994).
In early 1980, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the National Association of Nigeria Students and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) collectively represented the bourgeois civil moments to improve conditions and resisted the state repressive action on the people of Nigeria. Additionally, other professional groups such as the Nigeria Bar Association, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARDA) and the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) joined the struggle for improved social services. The NLC, the charter of demand for workers in collaboration with National Association of Nigeria Student (NANS) in 1980 created a consciousness among other civil society’s actors which highlighted the believe that specific economic and social demand could be met. The demands created political instability and thus democratic progression was curtailed. The state saw its role as becoming more vulnerable because of the perceived realistic lower level of its legitimacy among the citizens due to the state not being able to fill the voids created by distrust form the citizens (www.crp.org.ng).
The organized labour movement in Nigeria is seen as the panacea for freedom, protection and advocacy of workers civil right and liberties, resistance against state repression, it is the mobilization arenas for action against any obnoxious policies from the government and any employer of labour. It plays the role of protection and projection of substantive interests; the compelling impetus for the state moderation, the epitome of popular struggle for better labours right, the employment and civil rule (Ikelegbe, 2001). Not only in Nigeria, but throughout sub-Africa organized labour movement and trade union is seen as the essential element, an important tool that propels and strengthens liberal democracy and protects the civil right of the people (Makumbe, 1998, Peterson, 1998).
Nigeria’s recent political transition opens a new chapter in the nation’s quest for democratic governance. During the past three decades, Nigeria has been ruled chiefly by the military with only a brief civilian hiatus during the second republic (1979-83).Throughout a turbulence political history, Nigeria through different agencies such as organized labour, civil society organization and trade unions has repeatedly affirmed their commitment to democracy as the ideal system for governing the country. Nearly every military leader has espoused an intention to restore democracy, the several have arranged elaborate programmes of political transition. Throughout the circle of civilian and military governance, a vibrant and virile organized labour movement and civil organizations have emerged, to serve as a forum for the expression of political values and aspirations. The academic community professional groupings and range of popular association have also nourished democratic desire. As a principle, democracy is a system of government that the civil rule workers agitation has a firm foundation in the national conscience.
For various reasons, public opinion has been a neglected force in Nigeria politics. Most obviously, the military government have stifled the free expression of political views and trampled on the rights of the media and operation of the civil society organization in the country. As a result, many Nigerian citizens have either been afraid to speak out or have deferred to, even sometimes, people are with no options than into internalized, the attitudes and values of the military masters. Under these circumstances, people commonly resort to exit out of a civil organization, organized labour agitation or loyalty to the military. Under these circumstances, people commonly resort to exit out of the civil organisation, organised labour agitation or loyalty to the military dictatorship, rather than to voice. Indeed, the conventional wisdom from the qualitative social science research in Nigeria is that the psyche of citizen’s indeed civil society itself and the trade unions have been thoroughly “militarized”. Against this backdrop, a scenario of isolated efforts measures political and economic attitudes in Nigeria point to a more pluralistic universe that contains a resilient democratic culture other than the social organisations. Several studies over the past decades reveal a stubborn attachment to basic democratic values among key public constituencies.
The trade unions and the civil society organisations have long been the democratic war-horses of Nigeria along with the Bar Association and a number of religious institutions, and they have been joined by a myriad of small human rights and democracy non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Most of the large groups like the trade union and the Bar rebounded from the damage done by the military years to regain some of their former prominences on a number of important national policy issues such as that of the minimum wage, work security, unemployment and more fundamentally fuel pricing. A number of NGO coalitions join the trade unions (most especially the Nigeria Labour Congress) had some impact during President Obasanjo’s third term on national debates over constitutional reform, anti-corruption and the development of Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA). Hence, one can argue that Nigeria has long enjoyed a vibrant civil organisation, it trade unions, professional association, business association, traditional institutions and religious institutions has played critical roles in building and sustaining democratic rule by targeting a variety of social concerns, service provisions, or advocacy needed across the federation. The rise of the civil organisations over the last two decades began with military regimes period, so many of the civil society organisations were conceived of or were formed in opposition to open abuse to citizen’s rights, arbitrary labour and civil rule.
PROBLEMS AND LIMITATIONS OF ORGANISED LABOUR MOVEMENTS IN NIGERIA
The civil society organisation have been struggling to develop new tactics and programmes under civilian rule, such as enhancing access to legislation, serving in watchdog roles and seeking to escape more effective citizens participation in local affairs such as the participation of politics which had lead to the formation of labour party that the governorship election in Ondo State in 2007 election. Even though its mandate was initially denied, it is generally believed by the people of Ondo state in and the majority of the Nigeria masses, that tome in office will usher in a new style of governance and service delivery to the people. (www.socialistnigeria.org).
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in conjunction with other pressure group and the civil society organisations is the principal umbrella union organisations that were taken over by state-appointed administrators under the Abacha years, but it has since regained independence. Since the return to civilian rule, the labour union and civil society organisation coalition (LASCO) has broadened its mandate from just labour issues to broader concern over basic welfare deficiency that affects the working forces, such as health care, education, housing and proper wage packages.
Unlike other developing democracies, the member of the Nigeria professionals groups such as law, medicine, accountants, academics and women organisations before 2007 have not provided leadership for opposition political parties. As a result, they have not yet been able to mount an effective opposition movement, perhaps due to civil society organizations fragmentation, and not yet integration into strong, cohesive national organisations as a factor that necessitate by the military in the 70s and 80s when organised unions such as the student union and others were Balkanized. Thus, leaving unionism in Nigeria without effective opposition power to perform its role in the national politics therefore resulting to a disconnection between the elite the struggle to maintain their relative hegemony and the bulk of the population find themselves disenfranchised by the informal pattern of patrimonial power that characterises public decision making in the hand of the few military elite excluding the large majority of people who had voices in the national politics through union and associations.
With the return to democracy, trade unions most particularly NLC has gained popularity by confronting the government over the issues of energy prices, arguing that energy is so central to people’s livelihoods that society needs to be shielded from fluctuation. They have called six general strikes since 1999 to protest fuel price increases, causing the government to reverse its role back subsidies on several occasions. The union has in some ways filled a gap left by the absence of an effective opposition, but the government has introduced – but not yet passed-new legislation to end NLC’s monopoly over union organizing and curtailing its right to strike over non-work issues. The NLC now has full-time staffers who serve as liaison officers with the National Assembly, indicating how it has adapted to the new opportunities under constitutional rule. Since 2002, however, when the Presidency became more focused on building its own political machine within the PDP, civil society and labour groups have found themselves increasingly marginalised in the national politics. The EFCC has stalled increased polarization, and the president shelved many of the constitution reform recommendation in favour of his own national political reform conference in 2005. More worrisome, the trade unions and other civil society organisations have shown a growing susceptibility to the corruption culture of the political elite, moving some of their elements further from watchdog or interest group roles to client positions. The presidency has also known an increasing willingness to harass journalist for unfavourable coverage.
Given this shift, many organisations have returned to a more adversarial relationship with the government, looking to curb governmental abuses and protect democratic gains. In both of these regards, civil society organisation will remain, likely proponents of democratic reform, although the resources of their disposal to enhance their influence remain limited in comparison to the vested interests which they face. Promisingly, a number of civil society groups have been building alliances with community associations and community-based organisation in order to mobilize a larger portion of the public. Trade unions will continue to push for involvement in public policy, though it has not yet been able to bridge the gap between the government, workers and especially the unemployed masses they are likely to oppose further economic reform that will reduce state subsidies.
THE EMERGENCE OF A CENTRAL LABOUR UNION IN NIGERIA
The 1975-78 restructuring of the various trade unions saw to the emergence of a single labour centre, the Nigeria Labour Congress, out of 42 different industrial unions, 15 Senior Staff Associations and Professionals Unions. The new structure introduced considerable sanity into the labour movement activities and significantly minimized the chaos which pervaded the system in the previous year. However, the 1978 restructuring appeared to have led to a number of unintended problems especially the issue of overlap in the jurisdiction of the unions and the incident of job interest which are not properly recognized. Solution to these problems was attempted by the state during the late 1980s by forming a technical committee with the labour centre for purposes of removing or minimizing these problems (Fajana, 1997:61). This culminated in 1996 when the military government of General Sani Abacha restructured the union into twenty-nine unions (29) through trade union decree 4, and makes it a criminal defence for any union other than the 29 listed in the decree to the NLC. In the exercise, 19 unions were restructured into 7 while the remaining 22 were not affected.
It is imperative to state here that before the 1978 restructuring, the first NLC was an effort at organisational and not ideological unity. This effort was still borne as the military government intervened in 1976 by annulling the elections of the union that saw the emergence of the first president and banning the NLC with these words:
“NLC leaders engaged in wholesome rivalry base on foreign ideology and inspired by the lust for financial and material rewards which foreign governments and their agents are prepared to offer for the sake of establishing their influence on the socio-economic and political policies in Nigeria”.
In this light, the government in its wisdom, therefore, established a new central labour congress on the 28th of February, 1978 with the following objectives stated thus, the present regime in Nigeria will not tolerate indiscipline is committed to new trade union structure in the country that will ensure that workers can elect their own leaders in accordance with a code of conduct consistent with government overall national programme of enforcing discipline in the facets of the public life.
The military created NLC consisting of forty-two (42) industrial unions but later reduced to forty-one (41) and eventually twenty-nine (29) and to be free from ideological and external influences, financially self sufficient based on the check system of collection of unions dues and guided democracy, based on limited government intervention in union matters (Sukunbi et al, 1996:8)
THE OPERATION OF ORGANISED LABOUR MOVEMENT
The operations of pressure groups are multi-variant among which include, influencing public officials through lobbying, strikes, demonstration, lockouts etc. They influence public officials directly via preparation of brochures and other publications informing the public officials of the group’s position, personal contact with the governmental leaders, campaigns for or against major government decisions and actions and policies. This is an immense role which requires mapping out of carefully orchestrated strategies and vigorous determination on the part of the group.
Public opinion moulding is also another important activity performed by organised labour groups by influencing people’s view both their members and the general public for or against a particular proposal at hand. This may be a short or long-term basis but often designed to secure support or opposition to particular issues and those dealing with the general attitude of the public (Schick et al 1995:121).
The organized labour movement also involves the use of slight militant actions like a demonstration to draw mass attention to their problems and course. Though most unions prefer to work quietly and in private, however, it is in the act of pressing the government into change it stands and formulates a particular policy that it adopts an overt posture that would involve actions like a protest, demonstration, picket and in a worse situation, strike action.
The influence of election process is another method used by Nigeria Labour Congress in getting its home by influencing not only the masses but also the government with a threat to boycott the electioneering process. Though, they do not directly take part in the democratic forces united in a common, resolve to struggle for independence.
The labour movement was an important part of this struggling side by side with political parties, radical left element and the media. Even what may on the surface have appeared as basically trade union struggles at conditions of work became important rally points in the anti-colonial struggle and therefore the struggle and therefore the struggle for democracy. The 1945 general strike and the 1949 coal workers strike in Enugu should be seen in this light. The analyst is in the agreement that the strike of 1945, led by Pa Michael Imoudu, constituted a significant landmark in announcing the dawn of labour military which was to change the face of anti-colonial struggle dramatically.
However, there are two cardinal strategies available to organised labour movements in realizing their aims successfully:- these are co-operative or confliction. Organised labour movement in the political system, it seeks to achieve its aims with a minimum of conflicts, conflict strategy will be used when cooperative strategy had failed. Therefore, the use of any of the two strategies or method would only be conditioned by the conditioned by the combinations such as the prevailing political system, the internal characteristics of the movement, the political culture and the nature of the effect of governmental policies as it affects the people and labour generally. But these strategies are conditioned by the combination of factors such as the nature of the political system, the internal characteristic of the union, the nature of the party system, the political culture, power and the influence of the union.
The most potent weapon among others used by the Nigeria Labour Congress is the strike action; the strike action is a situation of partial or complete stay out or suspension of work during workable hours. It is an action usually taken by workers to achieve their demands, workers may engage in a strike to obtain some improvement in the employment, such as high wages or shorter working hours, to forestall and adverse change of employment, such as lowering wages and to prevent the employer from carrying out actions viewed as detrimental to the workers interest. It is an instrument used by organized labour all over the world, against the government or any other employer of labour to oppose certain laws and policies. It is partial when the workers come to the place of work but refuse to work, so the strike action can be described partial when the action is not universally exercised by the workers in a particular area where the action took over.
The strike action is complete when there is a full suspension of work observed by the workers, and there is total stay away from work. This type of strike is usually taken as a measure of last resort when negotiation or mediation has failed within the period of a partial strike often termed as warning strike. And this kind of action involves picketing, demonstration and sometimes militant activities. Therefore, the NLC in its fight for just and affordable working and living standards has used both the partial and the complete practices in Nigeria from the period of its formation till date.
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