International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Emerging Trends in Labour Law and Industrial Relations in Nigeria
Dr. A.B. Ahmed, Abubakar Aminu Ahmad, Nuhu Musa Idris

Labour law seeks to regulate the relationship between an employer or a class of employers and their workmen. The labour market involves interplay of individuals and institutions engaged in the mobilization of the workforce for the production and distribution of goods and services and efficiency in the production processes. The relationships in the labour market, whether at individual or collective levels, are basically contractual in nature. The areas of concern to labor law include formation of the contract of employment, the terms of the contract, including the express and implied obligations of the parties to it as well as termination of the contract and the available remedies thereof. Other areas are largely concerned with the regulatory intervention of the state and they include health, safety and welfare at work, compensation for death, injury, disease or disability arising out of or in the course of employment, pension scheme, health insurance scheme, organised labour relationship, including formation of trade unions, collective bargaining, industrial disputes and actions as well as the institutional framework for the resolution of industrial disputes. The reach of this law is so wide that it touches the lives of millions of men and women who constitute the labour force. The relationship between labor and management is based on a mutual adjustment of interests and goals. It depends upon economic, social and psychological satisfaction of the parties; the higher the satisfaction, the healthier the relationship. In practice, it is however found that labour and capital constantly strive to maximize their pretended values, and by so doing they try to augment their main respective incomes and improve their positions. These create sharply divided and vociferously pressed rival claims, which is not always easy to amenable reconciliation. The state with its ever increasing interest in labour and welfare issues cannot remain silent and helpless spectator in the relationship. So it takes the responsibility of coming up with legislative provisions meant to balance these conflicting interests in the arena of labour management relations. The paper examines the relevant legislations such as the Pension Reform Act 2004, the Trade Unions (Amendment) Act 2005, the National Industrial Court Act 2006, the Employees Compensation Act 2010 and the Constitution (Third Alteration) Act, 2010. The judicial decisions on the development of labour law and industrial relations in Nigeria have been reflected in the examination. The paper concludes that there have been efforts in Nigeria to conform to international labour standards through some of the legislations passed recently, particularly the National Industrial Court Act, 2006 and the Constitution (Third Alteration) Act, 2010. The paper further makes some recommendations that involve the need for the review of the constitution and some of the labour legislations to improve respect for and realisation of the international best practice on labour and industrial relations in the country.

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