The labour movement in Nigeria took-off some decades ago as a result of struggle for the welfare of organization’s employees. The foremost aim of this organized body was to protect the interest of its members.
They have fought for, and negotiated for employees’ salaries, numbers of hours to be put to work by employees, as well as an attractive condition for service. The labour movement grew out of inspiration.
It was not only for the interest of the workers that they emerged, their other aims was to ensure a just society, and social equality. Till date, labour movement in Nigeria is still working to protect the rights of the workers, where there are unfavourable working conditions.
They had championed the cause of workers’ safety in an organization, and had fought against policies that are inimical to the interest and welfare of workers in a work place.
What is labour?
Labour is the collection of the entire individual efforts, both physical and mental exertion bringing into play for the production of goods and services. Labour is a principal factor of production.
A collection of the total workforce in a work place, where efforts are exerted for the purpose of producing products and/or services with a view to satisfy customers in order to meet or realize the objectives of an organization.
Meaning of labour movement:
Labour movement is an organized worker of either private or public organization, who comes together in furtherance of their welfare, and rights and interest in a place of work, as well as bargaining for good condition of service of its members.
They specialized in challenging abuse of employees in a work place by the employers. Labour movement always in a work place; stands in the gap or on behalf of all the staff to protect their rights, interest, and as well, bargaining for a better condition of service for its members.
Prospects of labour movement in Nigeria
The emergence of labour movement has served a great deal of purpose, and many of the job conditions enjoyed today by organizational workforce are as a result of labour movement struggle for workers’ rights.
1. Challenges workers’ abuses
Labour movement in Nigeria has been challenging and fought vigorously against the abuse of workers’ rights in a work place.
There has been awareness creation on the important of effective workforce in an organization, protecting workers’ rights by negotiating and lobbying organization’s executives on policies that will serve the interest of the workers.
2. More salaries
Labour movement has fought for favourable wages for the employees. That is why most workers are earning good packages on monthly basis, the labour movement struggle has earned the workers, leave grants, so while in holidays, workers are earning wages.
Policies have been put in place to guarantee paternal, and maternal and career leave, all for the good of workers.
3. Stable employment
Labour movement struggle has ensured long-term job stability in work place, as hardworking and competent workers are retained in work place, inspite of unfair economic situation in the country.
4. Equal opportunity
Labour movement’s struggle for equal opportunity has helped earned the organization workers equal opportunity. The movement has challenged the ill-treatment mated against employees in a work place.
Labour movement fought against inequality of their staff members in an organization, and demanded for equal wages and consideration. Their struggle also challenged injustice and exploitation, occasioned by unfair policies. Of a truth, labour leaders have made a crucial impact to this regard, and have always there for their members in any work place.
Problems of labour movement in Nigeria
1. Political and socio-economic changes
Political, and social, and economic restructuring has posed a serious challenge to the effectiveness of labour movement in Nigeria. There are changes in organizations, and sometimes, among workers in the organization due to some sort of growth recorded in these organizations, sometimes too, the current impact of economic reality on these organizations.
As a result, some workers are laid-off and some businesses have been closed down. This unstable working arrangement has indeed threatened workers’ survival, which as a result made labour movement ineffective of its functions.
The actual function of the labour movement was to stand in for the employees in a work place, and ensure their job security in an organization, but unfortunately, there is a departure from this arrangement.
The reason is obvious, the problem has been that the labour leaders find it difficult to adapt to these changes in a work place.
2. Lack of job security
One of the challenges facing labour movement’s success in their mandate of protecting the interest of workers has been the issue of job security. To labour movement, organizations ought to retain workers in their work place particularly, if the workers are hardworking staff.
So their struggle to ensure job security or long-term employment stability was faulted as some of their members were laid-off, and to these employers, achieving high productivity will mean that they will have to lay-off some of their staff, and as well integrate modern technology techniques into their organization to help fast track their desired goals and objectives. So not relying so much on manual labour by employers any more has been one of the labour movement’s challenges.
3. Conflict in bargaining
The effectiveness of labour movement is in bargaining for workers’ condition of service, sometime, when the organization breached the agreement reached with the labour leaders in respect to workers’ interest, the workers will embark on strike action.
Sometimes the conflict is as a result of the organization’s executives thinking that keeping to the agreement will mean treating them (the workers) as equal or the co-owners of the business.
4. Decrease in membership
Labour movement membership however, in recent times has been reduced, not as a result of the present economic reality in the country, but it is for the fact that organization executives have wielded power against labour leaders.
Sometimes the labour leaders will have their share of hammer blow from these employers of labour, and this attack on the leaders of the labour movement has led to unfair economic reward to workers.
Conclusions and Suggestions
Labour movement in Nigeria needs a radical approach in their actions to remain a formidable organized workers’ group that defends the right of workers in a work place.
There is need also to evaluate and review the Nigerian labour movement with a view to restructure the labour movement in the fight against workers’ abuses. This is very crucial, in order to weaken the hammer blow from the organizations’ executive and other outside influences.
This will help determined the role the labour movement will play in meeting its future challenges. Labour movement must return to its radical approach in their struggle for justice and equality in the place of work.
The decrease in membership of labour movement in Nigeria should be put to a stop, because it has weakened the power of labour movement. Policies that will make effective reconciliation among aggrieved workers be put in place. Recognizing the power of organized labour can make the labour movement in Nigeria regain its lost glory.
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