The research on industrial conflicts and procedures for their settlement in Nigerian service is the work of the researcher. The intention of carrying out this project work is to find out the procedures for settling industrial conflicts. The objective of this research is to report on the procedures of settling and its effects on industrial action on trade union, parents, guardians, teachers and students/pupils. In achieving this purpose, the following instruments were used to gather data for the study, these are oral interview and personal observation which were administered on the officials of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi (NAUTH) reduce the rate of conflicts in public service, the following poor communication, poor condition of service highest and the role of union is very important in employer-employee relations. And government should be involving employees in decision making in areas concerning them as the most important. And these will reduce the industrial conflicts in public service in Nigeria.









1. Industrial conflicts & procedures for their settlement in Nigerian service (A case study of Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State).
2. The effect of leadership training on workers performance in Nigeria Private polytechnic (A case study of Osisatech polytechnic, Enugu).
3. Corruption in Nigeria and its effect on the management of local government (A case study of Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State).






The interest inequality and conflicting interest that exist in social and industrial organization make some form of conflict or disagreement inevitable. Industrial relations everywhere is an area of co-operation, conflict and settlement of conflict. Co0operation derives mainly from the realization of the legitimate expectations of parties while conflict result mainly from frustration of expectation of the parties.

According to section 55 of the trade union of 1973, “industrial conflicts are any dispute/conflict between employer and workers between worker which are connected with the employment or condition of employment or works of any person”.

From all indications, trade disputes are supposed to be concerned with employment issues and conditions of work and/or service of works collectively or individually. Matters under this may include salaries, wages, welfare packages and other issues related to the existence of the same union and inter-union; conflicts are also regarded as trade dispute/conflict under the decree.

A pertinent question to ask here is, to what extent to the Nigeria system of industrial relations provide facilities for realization of legitimate expectations and minimize conflicts.

The nature of labor management relations in contemporary Nigeria when viewed critically, shows that a significant proportion of employers and workers still reject that co-operation on both sides can bring about increase productivity, better wages, improved living conditions and industrial peace and harmony.

This relationship is characterized by suspicion and skepticism when the management feels labour unions is all out to victimize it by probing into its activities while labour union believe management always want to suppress their organization. This leads to frequent and severe industrial conflict in Nigeria.

There are two kinds of conflicts in any working environment. Conflicts of interest concerns with conflicts in collective bargaining arising out of the making of new arrangements on terms and condition of work, or the renewal of which have expired. The right conflicts on the other hand, are those which involved alleged violation of right already established in employment contract or agreement.

In order to curb the space of conflicts in any establishment especially in the public service, some procedural rules will include all or any of the following:

Grievance procedure

Disciplinary procedure

A negotiating procedure

A redundancy procedure

A dismissal procedure

It is assumed that these rules should be followed by employees (teachers) and employer (the Teaching Hospital, Nnewi) so as to guarantee industrial peace and harmony necessary for efficiency and productivity in the educational sector.

Various ways has been employed in managing conflict in the ministry of education but they have all proven abortive. This include the provision of service but what seems good in the thinking of the government (employer) is poor (condition of service) to the teachers (employees) and in view of this, this research work will focus on areas which will improve working relationship between the government and the teachers, thus creating a good and crisis free environment.



At work (that is in their different schools), teachers will have relationship with fellow teachers, supervisors from the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital and Government with students/pupils and of course with the parents/guardians of the students. From these relationships, conflicts often rise. Conflicts therefore, is inevitable and it is against this background that this study, “industrial conflicts and procedures for their settlement” has been designed and investigated among other things, the main causes of industrial conflicts.

The researcher wants to find out whether conflicts arise as a result of conflicting interests of its employer(s) and employee(s).


Also, the researcher want to find out whether there is any conflict over management refusal to implement collective agreement which may lead to strike.

The causes of industrial conflict are an establishment with particular reference to Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.



The researcher work basically intend to highlight and address of the numerous causes of industrial conflicts as well as the procedures for their settlement with particular reference to Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.


The area of focus shall boarder in the following:

  1. Identifying the kind of industrial relations climate existing in the school.
  2. Assess the internal and external machineries for conflict settlement and their effectiveness in the organization (that is schools).
  3. Identifying the causes of industrial conflict mostly between the teachers and the school.
  4. Proffer solutions to minimize industrial conflict.
  5. Suggest more enduring conflict resolution techniques and machineries that would help in the sustenance of a more peaceful and enduring relationship in the educational sectors.




The study will be restricted to identifying the causes of industrial conflicts in the educational sectors. It will also cover the machineries for conflict settlement in Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.

Most especially, this research will cover the state ministry of Education, the teachers, the trade unions and the general attitude and reactions of parents and guardians towards frequent and long strike embarked upon by the teachers in public schools.




The importance of this research work cannot be over emphasized especially when one consider the many deplorable consequence of industrial actions.

The study will try to acquaint the government, the teachers and the union (that is Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and the adoption of approval industrial relations machineries for their settlement). It will further advance suggestions on how government (Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi) can approve its relationship with teachers in order to reduce the incidence of individual conflict.

Both the government and the teachers will also gain from the report of study as it will enlighten them on the importance of following the procedures of dispute settlement rather than embarking on frivolous industrial actions.


The following definitions are defined in a way they are used in time study and what the actually mean:

  1. Industrial Conflict: these are any conflicts between employers and workers or between workers and, which is connected with the employment of non-employment or the terms of employment or condition of works of any person.
  2. Grievance: This is a dissatisfaction of any employees over a denial of perceived right or group feels entitled.
  3. Procedure: The order of doing things especially legal or political. It is a step approach or procedure in the case of grievance without resorting to industrial action.
  4. Industrial Action: These are used by workers to bring the employers to the negotiating table or to sanction, employers as a situation arises. Sanctions employed by workers are strikes, work to rules, lock in and lock out, overtime ban, picketing, intimidation etc.
  5. Collective Bargaining: This is the machinery used by labour and management to determine the terms and conditions of employment of workers during a given period of time.
  6. Boycotts: A boycott is another weapon to encourage management to agree to its demand. A boycott involves any agreement by union members to refuse any call by their employer.
  7. Work-to-rule: This is a common form of industrial action. It is aimed at the restriction of output through deliberate reduction in peace of work done. In Nigeria, it is usually referred to as “Go slow”.
  8. Overtime Ban: This is used by the union to exert more pressure on the employer by imposing addition costs on the employer if more production is needed. Members of the union as banned working beyond official hours.




This chapter is the review of the various works already done in the field of industrial conflicts and procedures for their settlement. The chapter studied the textbooks, thesis, seminar papers, workshops, and symposia, cornices with a view of determining the extent of work in the field and how such concepts relate or concern the public sectors. It is also high-lighted the short coming of such concept and result with a view of ensuring that this research correct such short comings, so that further researchers in the areas can take off from the result of this research.

As earlier stated, the title of this research work is industrial conflicts and procedures for their settlement in Nigerian Public service Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi as a case study. From this topic, four key variables need to the better defined in order to ensure a fuller understanding, these are:


Conflict resolution

Collective management

All these were explained in the chapter


The existence of diverse interests, goals and objectives of different individual who are brought together to co-exist under one organization and the guest by these individuals to meet these diverse individual objective no doubt present a situation where conflict will result from countervailing interest and opposing goal and objectives. No doubt in a public service, set up involved will undisclosed to the party or parties targeted no less negative in their consequences for being direct. The opposing behaviours are interactive in the sense that, “it take two people to fight” but also in the sense that there is usually more than one cycle of behaviours. Baron (1983), said conflict is a process which follows the thwarting of major goals and involves specific perceptions, emotion and behaviours on the part of the people involved. He said individuals seek many different goals everything from protection or enhancement of their self-esteem through wealth, status and power, thus many opportunities exist for one person or group to block the goal attainment of other person or group.

According to Baron (1983), the goals sought by human beings are so varied and complex, that is all too easy for conflicts to develop accidentally in the absence of any conscious or overt desire by one individual to thwart the concern of another.

Baron explained causes of conflict in organization in the table attached. The various areas identified in the attached table conflict in a works environment when this occurs either at an individual r group level, it can escalate into industrial conflict with groups or individuals having union taking up their cause against management or employer thus an individual conflict may be declared.

Witting (1977), described conflict as a situation where more than one motive condition may be operating at any given moment, sometimes, the motive conditions are compatible with each other but at other time, they may be incompatible.

Psychologists call the later situation a conflict several different types of conflict situation.

Protection of enhancement of ones self-esteemSlight to status, omission or removal of special “peaks” derogation critics.
Economic benefitAwarding smaller raise than person feel is deserved, blocking or delaying promotions.
Compliance with certain norms (i.e Reciprocate, fair play).Violation of these norms (e.g. breaking agreements, failing to reciprocate favours)
Desire for person autonomyOrdering individual to believing in certain ways, restriction of freedom, imposing needless regulations and rules.
Enjoyable workAssignment to dull and boring jobs
Self actualization personal growthPreventing such growth (e.g. retaining individuals in deed and jobs, blocking attempts at acquiring new jobs related skills
Free expression of personal valuesCompelling individual to act in ways inconsistent with these beliefs.
Good friendly inter-personals relationTransferring individual away from friends, interfering with information social relations on the jobs.


Sources: baron 1983, page 404 Otobo (1982) identified two kinds of conflict in any organization. The first referred to as conflict of interest, while the second is right disputes. The disputes of interest concern conflict in collective bargaining arising out of the making of new arrangement on condition of term and condition of work or renewal of those, which have expired. The right conflicts are those, which involves allegedly violations of rights already established in employment contracts or agreement.


Workers which is connected with the employment and non-employment or the terms of employment or conditions of work of any person.

From all indication, trade disputes/conflicts are supposed to be concerned with employment issues and conditions of work and or service of workers collectively and individually, matters under this include among other issues, salaries, wages, welfare packages and other issues related to the existence of a worker employer agreement. Obikoya (1996) declared that the major parties to a trade dispute are the employers and employees.

However, the dispute can also arise between workers and workers. A dispute arising between members of the same union and intra-union dispute under the decree.


In the book “aspects of industrial conflicts” F.L Nyalahi that dispute will definitely occur between persons who provide capital and person who provide labour. He identified three types of conflicts that could exist in industrial conflict as follows:

  • Conflict over the production and distribution of wealth
  • Conflicts over the production and distribution of human dignity and respect.
  • Conflict over production and distribution of power and authority.

According to Otobo (1991) causes of conflicts could be internal or external.

  1. The internal sources of conflicts/disputes in the industries include the following:
    • The social consciousness of the workers.
    • The nature of the physical environment of the work place.
    • The style of the management.
  2. The external sources include:
    • The nature of labour legislation.
    • The unpatriotic and unethical behaviour of the political and economic class of the people
    • National economic mismanagement.
    • The general distribution of wealth and power in the society.

According to Otobo (1991), some of these sources may not directly cause industrial conflict but they do influence general expectation. They substantially determine the duration and intensity of conflict and set stage for the conduct of industrial relations.

Obikoya (1996) gave the major causes of industrial conflict to include the following:

  1. Poor condition of service symbolized by in equitable salaries, wages and fringe benefits, unconducive working environment, lack of or inadequate package for workers such as housing, transportation, medical services to mention a few.
  2. Failure on the part of management to implement in full the terms of agreement arising from collective bargaining on non-implementation of terms and agreement. Delay in payment of workers salaries allowance as at when due. Teachers in this country are usually the victims of such circumstance, it is either that salaries are delayed for month or the allowances due to them are unduly suspended or not paid at all.
  3. Management neglect or non-involvement of unions in vital decision that affects their fortunes. For example, is management’s decision that affecting changes in the workers hours of works, retirement age, overtime pay union and so on.
  4. Working without proper tools, materials, facilities and efficient job performance.
  5. Illegal dismissal, irregular promotion, vindictive transfer, underserved demotion, persecution of labour leaders and union executives and in human treatment of workers especially junior employees, are among the cause of industrial actions in the country.


Trade dispute manifest themselves in various ways, over the years workers have designed various ways of dealing with unsatisfactory behaviour of management in the work situation. These were used by the workers to bring the employers to the negotiating table or to sanction erring employers as the situation arises. Most of these measures are last resorts on the workers to get attention when all negotiating have failed.

Sanctions employed by workers include the following:

  1. Strikes: Strike is the most popular form of industrial action in any society. It is a situation where workers refuse to work or withdraw their exert pressure on their employers. It is an attempt by both sides of the conflicts to change the bargaining position of the other party. For example, the union can use strike to force management to concede the demand of the union while an adamant management may send a message to the employees that is not ready to shift ground which means the workers may simply have to re-adjust their position. By using the strike option, workers attempt top exert pressure on their employers since the situation may lead to loss of revenue and customers strikes and derived from the power of the union to authorize all members to go on strikes.

Obokoya J.O. (1996) say if a union members fails to comply with requirement, he or she can be fined.

Though regarded as a very negative aspect of industrial dispute, it is on record that it has been helpful to both sides of the disputes, at different situations.

According to Fashoyin T. (1996), strikes may have characteristics of political strikes, even though they may have been embarked upon to achieve sectoral interest.

According to Allen Flanders (1996), strike is a temporary refusal to work in accordance with the prevailing employment contracts (or other conditions that are not specified or implied in contracts) at least on the part of the great majority of workers involved of not terminating their contracts.

The impact of strike action is enormous. It has an adverse effect on the national economy.

Fasoyin (1992), argued that strikes are the bad side of industrial relations and they are ones which the public associates with and it is an aspect of industrial relations which invites negative comments from all the study.

Goulder (1995) on his part saw strike as asocial phenomenon which in its totality is never susceptible to compete description, let along explanation.

Strikes action are sometimes embarked upon in order to improve the employment conditions of the employees affecting changes in the bargaining structure chamberlain and Kuhu (1995) argued that “most” strikes involves attempts by union or management to change the bargaining position of the other party. When properly used, a strike can induce management to concede to demand of the union. May be the situation is aptly captured by Ottokan-Frend and Bob Hepple (1982) when they say, “Workers will go on strike” whatever the law may have to say about it. If people may not withdraw their labour, this means that the law compels them to work and legal compulsion to work is adherent to systems of law with a liberal tradition, and compatible only with a totalitarian system of government while we advocate for a right to strike for worker, its pertinent to warn that when workers exercise these rights there are certain economic risks such as loss of wages and termination of employment contracts.

  1. Work-to-rule: This is a deliberate action taken by the union to restrict input in the place of work. This action is popularly referred to as “go slow” in Nigeria. It is a common form of industrial action. There are at least two instances that could be cited when the unions used “work-to-rule” to advantage in Nigeria. In 1975, the coal workers used union effectively when government awarded at 10% – 15% increases in salary of the workers despite the fact that they were not unionized.
  2. Lock in and Lock out: This is a situation where workers lock in and lock out the management staff deny the access to or exist from the premises. It is an indication of unhealthy industrial relations which may mean an excessive use of union power. It is a very particular means of sanction by labour unions in Nigeria.
  3. Overtime Ban: This is used by the union to exert more pressure on the employer by imposing additional costs on the employer if more production is needed. Members of the union are banned from working beyond official hors. A variant of this is the refusal to work at weekends or holiday period. This strategy is usually exploited in the education section of the public service during registration of voters, and during elections when teacher would be needed to carry out such function other than teaching students. A situation where teachers in this sector refuse to work on the day/date will adversely affect management (government).
  4. Picketing: This refers to efforts embarked upon by striking workers to discourage other form attempting to continue work and also to discourage new workers from coming into the organization. It is usually used to carry out through public enlightment, demonstration with the intentions of attracting public sympathy and support.

Section 45 of the Trade Union Act approves the use of peaceful picketing, it states that, “it shall be lawful for one or more persons, acting on their own behalf or on behalf of a trade union or registered federation of Trade Unions or of an individual employer or firm in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute, to attend at or near a house or place where a person resides or works or carries on business or happen to be, if they so attend merely for the purpose of peaceful obtaining any person to work or abstain from working.”

  1. Intimidation: This rather development in industrial conflict is usually used in the public section. It is aimed at portraying the employer in a bad light by taking actions which are embarrassing or unethical to normal work rules. This form of industrial conflict is used to force employers to negotiate. Most of the time, the action is taken to avoid the managers sanctions in the case of a strike. It has proved to be a very effective way of getting management to the negotiation table.
  2. Sit-in: This is a situation where workers only come to work to prevent management from shutting down the plant but refuse to perform their duties.


That there will be conflicts between union and management and union is a truism. Conflicts however, have to be handled in some manners to ensure that normally is returned.

Chamberlain and Kuhu (1965), proffered that grievance and dispute procedure performs three basic functions in any industrial relations system.

  • Setting problems that arise from different in option from terms of the collective agreement.
  • Applying the terms of agreement to unforeseen situation.
  • Attending to demands adjustment of the terms of the agreement to local instructions. In setting disputes, two basic approaches have been identified, they are:
  1. Grievance procedure
  2. Statutory procedure

While the former is concerned with procedural or collective agreement, the later is embodies in the Trade Union Act of 1976.


The grievance procedure: Section 3 (1) of the trade dispute act stipulates that any dispute arising in industry must first be settled under internal machinery. In view of this, most employers of labour have what has come to be called “internal grievance machinery”. This machinery is expected to resolve all grievances before they become industrial actions.

According to Fashoyin (1992), four stages of grievance settlement policy could be identified in the collective bargaining agreement of a particular organization.

The stages are: When an employee has a grievance, he is expected to make it known to his immediate boss who investigates the matter and reports back to the employee within three days of his/her findings. The second stage is proceeded to if the employee remains unsatisfied with the action taken in the first stage. In this case, the aggrieved employee makes his case known to the sectional boss in witting within three days.

The third stage commences, when after seven days, the grievances are not resolved. The aggrieved employee accompanied by a union representative in the establishment may now present the dispute to the Head of Department. The fourth and final stage within the company is the notification of the Director General (D.C) or the commissioner in charge of the said ministry, but in this case (the ministry of Education) through the personnel director and the decision reached at the state shall be final.

In seeking redress for grievance the aggrieved worker or party is required to follow the step procedure about without resorting to industrial action. This approach is time saving while its success at this level will boost the status and authority of supervising personnel and reinforce employee loyalty to the organization.


The trade dispute decree (1976) as amended by the trade disputes/conflicts (Amendment) Act of 1977 provided by the external machinery is a third party intervention. Government interventions in disputes are attempts to normalize strained relationship between labour and management so as to prevent economic and social disintegration and consequently the national economy. This policy of intervention was embarked upon in 1968 by the Federal Military Government in order to stimulate production and industrial stability so as to sustain the war efforts. By 1969, the Government banned strike action through the trade dispute (emergencies provision). Amendment No. 2 of 1976 by this action, strike actions and lock outs were prohibited in the essential services such as the public services of both the federal and state Government.

According to Otobo (1991) this third party intervention is a process of peace making industrial relations and its also aims bargaining about the speed settlement of disputes. The statutory procedure comprises the following: mediation, conciliation, arbitration and the industrial court.


Section of the trade dispute decree No. 7 of 1976 makes it obligatory for the parties to a trade dispute to meet within7 days of the existence of the trade dispute either together by themselves or their representative under the chairmanship of a mediator, mutually agreed upon and appointed by or on behalf of the parties with a view to an amicable settlement of the conflict. When the parties are unable to reach an agreement, any of the parties intending to pursue the matter further required to declare to trade dispute and notify in writing to the Federal Ministers of employment, labour and productivity within 7 days, failure to resolve the dispute through mediation. This method is the last sued in the settlement of trade disputed in Nigeria.


In the event of a total failure of mediation, the Federal Ministry of Employment, labour and productivity may appoint conciliation for the purpose of effecting a settlement of the dispute.

The conciliator shall enquiry into the causes and circumstances of the disputes and by negotiation with the parties Endeavour to being about settlement. If settlement of the dispute is reached within 7days of his appointment, the conciliator shall forward a memorandum of the terms of the settlement signed by the representative of the parties to the minister as from the data when the memorandum is sent or such date as may be specified therein shall be binding on the employers and workers to whom those term apply. If the conciliator fails to effect a settlement within 7days of his appointment, he shall report the situation to the minister within 3days.


Another course of action which the minister may take apart from the reference to a conciliator is to refer the dispute to the board of enquiry or Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP). The IAP was established by the trade dispute decree 1976. Unlike the ordinary civil court where litigants can go directly, all trade disputes/conflicts came before the panel under referral by the Federal Minister of Employment, labour and productivity.