Governments’ penchant for dishonouring collective agreements reached on wages and wage - related industrial unrest in the public service in nigeria

Author: 
Uzoh, Bonaventure Chigozie

This paper examined the relationship between governments’ frequent refusal to honour collective agreements reached on wages and incessant wage – related industrial unrest in the public service in Nigeria. The use of the collective bargaining machinery as an instrument of wage determination and settlement of other employment conditions is highly restricted in the public service in Nigeria because government prefers the use of wage commissions. However, whenever government decides to bargain with its employees represented by their unions and agreements reached, it usually finds it difficult to honour these agreements. In the public service in Nigeria, there are numerous cases of governments’ failure to honour agreements it willfully entered into with workers. This sort of attitude on the part of successive governments in Nigeria makes one to think that even when government decides to negotiate with workers it has at the back its mind that the agreements reached during such negotiations would not be honoured. In some instances, government had even gone down to the level of denying that it entered into any form of agreement with workers. Governments’ penchant for dishonouring collective agreements reached with workers bordering on wages and settlement of other working conditions has undoubtedly accounted for most of the strike incidents in the public service in Nigeria. This paper therefore contends that it is important that governments in Nigeria realize that collective bargaining remains the best method of determining wages of workers and other employment conditions in the public service. Most importantly, honouring agreements that result from these negotiations could go a long way in reducing the frequency of wage – related industrial unrest thereby ensuring reasonable level of industrial peace in the public service in Nigeria.

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